PG North: North Allegheny doubles team earns respect, title

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' TENNIS

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North Allegheny girls' tennis coach Michelle Weniger wasn't aware of how the field in the WPIAL Class AAA doubles tournament was seeded until after it began.

It's a good thing she wasn't because, Weniger wasn't too pleased when she found out Tigers partners Mikayla Becich and Kylie Isaacs were given the No. 11 seed in the tournament.

"Maybe it was a good thing I didn't know," Weniger said in retrospect. "I would have been frustrated and angry."

In the end, all Weniger was by the end of the tournament was "thrilled" and "proud."

Isaacs, a freshman, and Becich, a junior, became WPIAL champions, winning the title match, 6-3, 6-3, against Upper St. Clair's Megan Adamo and Andrea Hammer last Friday at Pine-Richland High School.

The duo from North Allegheny beat teams from Bethel Park, Shady Side Academy and Oakland Catholic in the first three rounds Oct. 7 at Keystone Oaks High School.

That's not bad for a team that, perhaps because of the fact they were runners-up at their own section doubles tournament the week before, was given such a low seeding and bad draw en route to the final.

"The beauty of sometimes dealing with high school players is they don't get caught up with some of this other stuff that maybe adults do," Weniger said. "They just go out there and play and play one match at a time."

Isaacs and Becich lost to Pine-Richland's Taylor Perz and Marlys Bridgham in the Section 2-AAA final two weeks ago, but that didn't seem to affect them as they moved on.

"We didn't know that we were an 11 seed, and after we found out we were actually a little bit surprised," Becich said. "But going into it, we were not expecting anything; we were just hoping to play our best game and looking to take one match at a time and not looking too far ahead."

The NA doubles team's wins in the quarterfinals (11-9 againt Lisha Gu and Alexa Miller of Shady Side Academy) and semifinals [against Oakland Catholic's Nicole Cyterski and Megan Wassan, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3] were the closest matches.

Becich and Isaacs played a practice match against Cyterski and Wassan leading up to the WPIAL tournament. Cyterski and Wassan are both from Fox Chapel and have trained alongside Becich and Isaacs in the past.

"Once we found out about our seeding, I thought it was even more cool because we were kind of the underdog, and I always like to be the underdog," Isaacs said. "You know when you go into a match you have nothing to lose and you just have everything to win.

"I've known Mikayla a long time. She's a great player and we have a great time together. We seem to have great team chemistry and that helps us."

Becich and Isaacs will play in the PIAA doubles tournament Nov. 5-6 at the Hershey Racquet Club. They also will be playing at the top of the singles lineup for the Tigers beginning tomorrow in the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament.



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