North/West Xtra: As usual Sewickley a WPIAL contender

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Colin Kaye has been a part of three WPIAL Class AA boys tennis team titles during his time at Sewickley Academy.

But the senior has his sights set on an elusive feat this season.

"I think we have the potential to win a state title," Kaye said. "We just have to continue to work hard and take it day by day. We've put the time in this offseason and it's exciting to see how much better everyone has gotten."

Sewickley has won nine consecutive WPIAL Class AA titles and 13 of the past 15. But the Panthers only won one state title, in 2006, during that span.

"The same thing typically happens," Sewickley coach Whitney Snyder said. "We end up playing really strong east teams that have year-round players. To win the state title, you need to have some breaks go your way and have no injuries."

Snyder wouldn't compare this season's team to those of years past, but said he believes the team does have the capability to bring home the state championship in May if it gets some breaks.

The Panthers have six starters returning from last season's PIAA quarterfinalist, led by Kaye, the defending WPIAL Class AA singles champion.

"He's a base-liner who is very accurate and consistent," Snyder said.

Another senior, Patrick Dellinger, has pushed Kaye for the team's No. 1 singles spot.

Will Kleeman, a four-year starter, will play No. 3 singles.

"I think at states, it usually comes down to singles," Kaye said. "In the past, maybe our players were younger and weren't mature enough. The difference this year is we have three seniors at singles."

The Panthers are deep, too. Senior Hayden Moyer and juniors Logan Yee and Luke Vith all started at doubles last season and will be joined in the doubles lineup by junior Danny McCormack.

But Snyder said he also expects senior Luke Schram, junior Andrew Parda, sophomore Wyatt Geller and freshman Bryan Rosario to get playing time.

"We have tremendous depth," Snyder said. "We have a bunch of interchangeable parts."

To prepare for what they'll likely see at Hershey in May -- presuming, of course, that they get there -- the Panthers have put together a tough non-section schedule that includes matches against perennial Class AAA powers such as Upper St. Clair, Shady Side Academy, Pine-Richland, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Hampton.

Kaye feels like how the Panthers fare against Class AAA foes will parallel how they'll do at states.

"The teams you see at the state level, I don't think there's much difference between Class AAA and Class AA," Kaye said. "So they're the type of matches we need to play.

"I think if we're successful in these matches, we'll be successful at the state level."



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