Girls Tennis Team: Undefeated Section Champions

October 5, 2017

With evident talent, determination, and teamwork, this year’s group of girls stand out from the rest. Being undefeated section champs hasn’t been accomplished for Latrobe Girls Tennis since 2009. They collectively have claimed victory over very strong competition, including Norwin, Penn Trafford, Gateway and Hempfield.

Hempfield was a very important win for the ladies. Hempfield hasn’t been beaten by Latrobe in over eight seasons. Going into the match, Coach Stas knew it would be a battle. Whichever team was more focused that day would come out on top.

Addison Kemerer faced Hempfields Rhiannon Kelly. Addison showed her ability to move her opponent around the court in the very first set. Her ending set scores were 6-2, 6-2. Both Gianna Ferry and Maddie Stas had very tight matches. Ferry’s first set was back and forth, going into 7 games. Her loss during the first set motivated her going into the second. She won 6-2. Both girls wanted to win that match. Hempfield’s Angela Popovich reluctantly finished on top.

Maddie Stas played a very similar match. She dominated the first set winning 6-4. The next two sets were very tight. The set scores do not do justice to how evenly matched Cam Brown and Maddie Stas were. Most if not all points went into deuce. The second and third set scores for Stas were 3-6 and 4-6.

With two losses and one win, the fate of the match landed on the doubles players shoulders. Emily Mondock and Julia Huczko went into the match determined to come out on top. They both knew how important their effort was in winning this match. Both girls communicated, ran after every ball, and were unstoppable at the net. The set scores reflect that as they defeated Maura Harbaugh and Sarah Ewing. Amanda White and Annie Rause went in with the same mentality for Latrobe. They lost in the first set, but came back and one the next two sets 6-2, 6-2. Both of the doubles pairs winning clinched the wildcat victory over Hempfield.

One look at the roster may be surprising. With only two seniors, and four juniors, “young” is only a word. Young does not mean inexperienced- it means quite the opposite.

Coach Stas attributes this success to many different things. She believes that even though key players graduated, this team was even more experienced than years past. “Most of our starting lineup is putting in work in the offseason, which has not always happened, and we’re definitely seeing the benefit of that,” Stas explains.

The graduation of Tori Rutigliano, a starter at the first singles position and 4 year varsity letterman, was a tough loss for the team. Freshman Addison Kemerer has filled this void spectacularly. She shows dedication during the season and out of the season, by practicing with Pittsburgh teams and on her own time. Addison loves playing for the school team. “I enjoy being part of a real team with a bunch of awesome, nice and really supportive girls,” said Kemerer. Her 8-1 record at first singles has been a key reason for the Wildcat’s success.

Another key point for the success she sees is the team’s chemistry. “Everything is a collaborative effort from the motivational talks before a match, cheering each other on while on the court, to working on skills together at practice after a match.”, said coach Stas.

Junior Gianna Ferry and senior Maddie Stas are next in the singles lineup. Both of these girls were starters last season and continue to put in the time and effort to prepare for matches. Gianna stayed at her 2nd singles position, whereas Maddie made the transition from first doubles to third singles.

Julia Huczko and Emily Mondock are two sophomores who have made an immense impact on this seasons outcome. As freshman they showed promise, and their chemistry on the court is undeniable. Huczko and Mondock at first doubles have been a pair the whole team can count on to contribute a win during very tight matches. “I think me and Julia work so well together because we have been playing with each other for so long. I feel like by now we know exactly what the other person is going to do and are ready for it. If one of us is having trouble that day the other knows exactly how to fix it and it’s just a ton of fun!”, said Mondock.

The pairs Annie Rause and Amanda White, alongside Lauren Willner and Taylor Miller show their skills at second doubles.

As for the playoffs, the wildcats will face Peters Township in the first round. Being first in the section does nothing but help them as far as seeding goes. If they defeat Peters, their next opponent will be Shady Side Academy or Butler. With their chemistry, experience, and dedication, their is no doubt that the girls have all the necessary skills to make it all the way.

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