WPIAL girls tennis preview: North Allegheny’s Huang returns to defend state title
North Allegheny senior Ashley Huang enters the season on Monday as the top returning WPIAL Class AAA girls tennis singles player.
Huang, the PIAA champion, placed third at the WPIAL championship last season.
North Allegheny’s Ava Catanzarite placed second but is sitting out the season to focus on International Tennis Federation junior tournaments.
Norwin’s Maria Santilli, who repeated as WPIAL champion, is competing for Cincinnati.
“I am very excited to play singles again to represent our school for a chance at states,” Huang said. “For section singles and WPIAL singles, my main competition will always be myself.
“Every year, it’s going to be different. I am going to take it one match at a time, just like last year.”
North Allegheny coach Michelle Weniger said Huang should have a good chance of repeating at states.
Baldwin junior Bethany Yauch, who placed third at the 2016 WPIAL championship, is excited to be back after missing last season because of illness.
“Having my appendix out was not fun,” she said. “I am very ready to compete.”
Baldwin coach Zachary Smith said Yauch can go as far as she wants.
While some U.S. Tennis Association players opted out of high school tennis, Hampton freshman Madison Cordisco did the opposite and joined the Talbots.
Cordisco, a highly ranked junior tennis player, likes the team atmosphere.
“I do know many of the top players around our area,” Cordisco said. “I look forward to seeing and competing against them.”
Latrobe sophomore Addison Kemerer is among returning players.
“Addison put in a lot of work throughout the offseason,” Wildcat coach Michelle Stas said. “Watching her during tryouts, her strokes have definitely improved.
“She seems more confident in her game. I definitely expect her to be a contender for WPIALs.”
In Class AA, the gap between Knoch sophomores Laura Greb and Brooke Bauer lessened after Our Lady of Sacred Heart’s Katherine Marks, the WPIAL runner-up last season, moved. Greb and Bauer placed first and third, respectively.
Knoch coach Nance Conlon said Greb and Bauer are classy players.
“They are fighters but still remain friends,” Conlon said.
Bauer said meeting her teammate in the WPIAL final would be a nice problem.
“I know that Coach Conlon would love that,” Bauer said. ”(She) is incredibly supportive of both of us.”
Sewickley Academy sophomore Simran Bedi is a returning player to watch.
“Even with one year of experience under my belt, all I can say is that I hope to take one point, play my game and see where it takes me,” Bedi said.