North Allegheny tennis team celebrates trip to PIAA final four
A season that got off to a rocky start turned out better than expected for the North Allegheny girls tennis team.
The Tigers reached the semifinals of the PIAA Class AAA championship tournament recently in Hershey.
The Tigers, the defending PIAA champion, had to replace three returning players who decided not to play for various reasons.
They came in second in Section 2-AAA with a 7-1 record and qualified for the WPIAL championship, where they won for the sixth year in a row.
In the PIAA playoffs, they shut out City League champion Brashear in the first round to advance to Hershey. They then beat West Chester Henderson, the District 1 third-place team, 3-2, in the quarterfinals before bowing to District 1 runner-up Conestoga, 3-1.
Senior captain Ashley Huang, a Cornell recruit and the WPIAL singles champion and defending PIAA champion, notched the only point in the semifinals.
Scoring in the quarterfinals were Huang, junior second singles player Ella Sinciline and the first doubles team of sophomore Claire Shao and senior captain Riya Yadav.
Sophomore Jenny Zhu and juniors Shria Moturi, Ashley Chung, Natasha Porwal and Grace Lee also were on the squad.
“This season has been a tribute to the players and their desire to win and make it back to Hershey,” Tigers coach Michelle Weniger said. “As the season progressed, the younger inexperienced players improved both their mental and physical game.”
Huang said she and her teammates were happy to have made it into the top four in the state.
“We didn’t think we would make it there when the season started, but after everyone’s hard work and dedication, we were able to go far and achieve something that no one thought we were able to do,” she said.
Yadav, who is considering playing club tennis at Pitt, said not only did girls become better players, they became friends.
“I am so proud of my team for doing amazing work,” she said.
The Tigers have been PIAA champions four times and runner-up once since 2013.