If Greater Latrobe can advance past the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA Girls Tennis Team Championships, a familiar opponent could be waiting.
But first things first. No. 4-seeded Greater Latrobe is home to No. 13 Thomas Jefferson for Thursday’s first round and looking to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
The Lady Wildcats went through the regular season unbeaten, capturing the WPIAL Section 1-AAA title with a perfect 8-0 record (9-0 overall). It’s also their second section championship in a row.
“The team had an amazing regular season, going undefeated,” commented Chad Kissell, who’s in his first year as GL’s head coach. “All credit goes to the girls’ work ethic and great attitude they bring each and every day to practice. Their hard work is paying off.”
The Lady Wildcats received the No. 4 seed behind Peters Township, Upper St. Clair and Mount Lebanon and just ahead of the team they beat in their first match of the season — long-time nemesis North Allegheny. Greater Latrobe got past North Allegheny, 3-2, but is still seeded right behind the Lady Tigers.
“Our playoff hopes are to play our best tennis of the year and make it as far as we can,” Kissell simplified. “They have been preparing all year for this moment, and I know they are ready to compete for a championship.”
Last season — for the first time since 2009 — Greater Latrobe made it out of the first round of the playoffs with a 3-2 win over Pine-Richland. The Lady Wildcats then lost to eventual WPIAL runner-up Shady Side Academy in the district quarterfinals.
Greater Latrobe is in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year and for at least the 12th time in the last 15 seasons. However, Kissell said that Thomas Jefferson — the Lady Wildcats’ first-round opponent, is a bit of an unknown.
“Not sure about the team we play in the first round,” he allowed. “We did not play them and I didn’t see any individuals from their team at either the WPIAL singles or doubles.”
“But I am confident that, as long as the girls focus on their own game, they can compete with anyone. I am excited to see how we do.”
Kissell said GL’s two mainstays at first and second singles, sophomores Jenna Bell and Carolina Walters, will remain in those spots for Thursday’s opening-round playoff match. Junior Reese Petrosky will play third singles, with sophomore Maya Jain and senior Emily Mondock at first doubles, and senior Bailey Noel and freshman Avery Massaro at second doubles.
A win over Thomas Jefferson puts the Lady Wildcats into the quarterfinals on Tuesday against either No. 4 seed North Allegheny or No. 13 Norwin. In addition to defeating NA, they own a victory over Norwin in section play.
In Class AA, Derry Area traveled to No. 2 seed Beaver Area for Monday’s quarterfinals of the WPIAL Girls Tennis Team Championships.
No results were provided prior to the deadline for today’s Bulletin.
Mount Pleasant, meanwhile, is moving on to the Class AA quarterfinals following a 4-1 home victory over visiting Keystone Oaks in Tuesday’s first round.
The Lady Vikings’ four wins came in straight sets from Mary Smithnosky at first singles (6-0, 6-2), Hannah Brown at second singles (6-3, 6-1), Sophia Smithnosky at third singles (6-3, 6-2), and Olivia Stone and Haylie Brunson at second doubles (6-3, 6-1).
Panari Patel and Taylor Brooks of Keystone Oaks defeated MP’s Katie Hutter and Alex Hamm at first doubles (6-4, 4-6, 6-2).
No. 3-seeded Mount Pleasant will now face either No. 6 Knoch or No. 11 Ringgold in Monday’s quarterfinals.
WPIAL Class AA