Greater Latrobe’s Jenna Bell has an opportunity to once again finish as one of the top three singles players in the WPIAL.
Bell lost in the semifinals of the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament on Thursday, and she will play in the third-place consolation match, 1 p.m. today at North Allegheny High School. Teammate Carolina Walters also participated in the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament, and she fell in the second round.
Bell will play for third place in the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament for the second consecutive year, as she squares off against No. 5-seeded Maggie Stief, of Upper St. Clair, on Friday. No. 3-seeded Kat Wang, of Peters Township, will face No. 1 Mia Gorman, of Bethel Park, for the WPIAL Class 3A Championship. Gorman is the defending WPIAL Class 3A champion, and PIAA Class 3A runner up.
A reduced bracket last season because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic meant only the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Champion – not top three, which included Bell – advanced to the PIAA Class 3A Singles Tournament in 2020. This season, the top three — which could include Bell if she wins on Friday — move on to states.
Last season, Bell defeated Wang by injury default to capture third place in the WPIAL. On Thursday, Wang beat the second-seeded Bell in the semifinals, scoring a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 victory.
Bell and Wang have a history against one another.
Following last season’s WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament, Bell picked up a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Wang, helping Greater Latrobe knock off Peters Township in the WPIAL Class 3A team semifinals. In 2019, Bell teamed with Walters, but lost against Wang and then-partner Marra Bruce of Peters Township during the WPIAL Class 3A Doubles Championship match.
On Thursday, Bell opened the tournament with a 10-5 victory against No. 15 Luisa Warnecke of Mount Lebanon. She followed it up with a 10-2 win against No. 7 Elana Sobol of Shady Side Academy before her loss in the semifinals against Wang.
Walters, the No. 8 seed, beat No. 9 Amanda Koren of Moon Area, 10-4, in the opening round before a 10-3 setback against top-seeded Mia Gorman of Bethel Park.
Bell outlasted her teammate, Walters in an all-Greater Latrobe final and won her third WPIAL Section 1-AAA Singles Championship last week.
Bell, the Lady Wildcats’ No. 1 player the past four seasons, successfully defended her WPIAL Section 1-AAA Singles Championship from last season. In 2020, Bell defeated Franklin Regional’s Hannah Yan to win her second WPIAL Section 1-AAA Singles Championship. Bell also topped Addison Kemerer, her former teammate, to claim the section singles title in 2018. Bell reached the title match of the Section 1-AAA Singles Championship in each of her four seasons, as she fell to Yan in 2019. Bell qualified for the district singles tournament for the fourth straight season.
Bell and Walters qualified as a team for the state doubles tournament during the 2019 season and lost in the quarterfinal round. They won the section doubles title that year and nearly captured a district championship, but just fell short against a team that included Wang.
Walters was at No. 3 singles for the Lady Wildcats in 2020, but she’s been playing at second singles this season – same as she did in the 2019 season. Bell and Walters both qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A Doubles Tournament last season – Bell with Kemerer and Walters joined by Maya Jain.
Bell reached the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament in 2018 and ’19. Walters fell in the opening round of the WPIAL Class 3A Singles Tournament in 2019.