Fox Chapel girls tennis looks to replace key singles players

September 16, 2018

The Fox Chapel girls tennis team posted a 16-2 record and made it to the WPIAL quarterfinals last season.

Coach Alex Slezak must replace some key members of the team if the Foxes are to maintain their success.

Amanda Nord, last year’s No. 1 singles player, and Molly Weise, another starter, both graduated. Junior Charlotte James, who combined with Nord to win WPIAL and PIAA doubles championships in 2016 and ’17, will not be playing with the team this fall.

“It was a difficult decision for Charlotte, and I spoke with her personally about it,” Slezak said. “She has been training very hard and competing in an aggressive tournament schedule. To summarize the rationale, first with all the national tournament travel she has planned this fall, she knows she is not going to be able to give 100 percent to the team.

“She’ll have to miss matches, and she is the kind of girl who only wants to do things if she can commit and do them right. Second, she also realizes skipping tournaments to be there for the team is especially difficult this

year as everything she does her junior year impacts college recruiting a great deal.”

On the positive side, the Foxes will have four starters returning in Molly Dean, Kristen Friday, Emily Fera and Mandi Schilcher.

“The strength of the team will be our depth,” Slezak said. “We have so many young ladies trying out, and it will be a very competitive process to make the team which will ensure our lineup is deep. We will look for some of them to step up into starting roles.”

More than 30 girls tried out for the team, with more than a third being freshmen.

“We will be without a top singles player in losing Amanda, so we can no longer count on a for-sure win,” Slezak said.

The Foxes will be competing in Section 3-AAA, with North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.

They opened the season with a 3-2 win over Mt. Lebanon on Aug. 20. Carissa Shepard and Lexi Quackenbush won in singles, and Fera/Katie Voight earned the win in doubles.

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