Shaler tennis team hoping to contend for postseason berth

September 25, 2018
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Shaler junior Kayli Hannan prepares for the upcoming 2018 tennis season Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.

Kayli Hannan needed a little time at the beginning of this school year to work back into form. Over the summer, the Shaler junior tennis player didn’t have as much time to practice.

But with Hannan making a bump up to No. 2 singles this season, she knew opponents wouldn’t allow her extra time to figure things out.

“I feel like I get back into it easily,” Hannan said. “I’ve been working on figuring out a technique for my forehand, basically.”

The Titans are hoping to work themselves into a WPIAL playoff appearance. Shaler, which won four matches last season, brings back a lot of experience from last year’s team.

Senior Lydia Valentine returns as the top singles player, while Hannan plays in the two spot and senior Allison Ketterer plays at No. 3 singles.

Mackenzie Romac and Olga Hawley form a doubles pair, while Olivia Wilkins and Zoe Smallwood play No. 2 doubles.

“We have a talented bunch,” Titans coach Brian Duermeyer said. “One good thing is we had 30 kids for tryouts. We have a varsity, junior varsity and freshman team.”

The Titans are in a section with Butler, Hampton, Mars, Moon, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley. Shaler opened the section schedule with a loss to the Talbots last Wednesday.

“Our goal is to compete for a playoff spot.” Duermeyer said. “We have enough talent to do that. Our goal is to win as much as we can and grow the program. Try to get back in playoff contention; we did that with the boys last year.”

Hannan decided to play tennis after playing a lot with her older sister, Megan.

“We played just a bit just messing around, but never on a team together,” Hannan said.

Since joining the sport, Hannan has made gradual progress. Currently, she’s working on strategy for how to attack tougher opponents.

“Usually the coach tells us what to do,” Hannan said. “I want to go to the net more and lead my opponents.”

Now that Hannan is back in the swing of things, she’s prepared to go to work.

The new challenge is finding what needs to be better to compete at her new level.

“My serve,” said Hannan about what she’s working on, “My footwork and where I place the ball, in what spot.”

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