When Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Alyvia Kluska forfeited to her younger sister, Michaela, in the consolation match of the WPIAL Class AA singles tournament Sept. 19, the elder sibling said it wasn't a difficult decision to give away the final state tournament berth.
"It wasn't really that big of a deal because I went [to states] last year and I just wanted her to have the same experience," said Alyvia Kluska, a Greensburg resident.
Alyvia Kluska finished second in the WPIAL singles tournament in 2012, earning a trip to Hershey. But Michaela Kluska won't be going alone this season, as her sister and another one of her teammates, Jordan Smithberger, punched their tickets to the PIAA doubles tournament last week.
Alyvia Kluska and Smithberger defeated South Park's Alyssa Snodgrass and Cassidy Jackson, 6-3, 6-3, to win the WPIAL Class AA consolation match last Thursday at North Allegheny.
Kluska and Smithberger will play in the state tournament Nov. 1-2 in Hershey, at the same venue where Michaela Kluska will be competing in the PIAA Class AA singles tournament.
"I definitely wanted to make sure I was with my sister," Alyvia Kluska said. "That was my goal this year -- for both of us to go [to states]."
It looked as if both Kluskas would qualify for the state singles tournament, after Michaela was awarded the No. 1 seed and Alyvia the No. 2 for the district tournament following Michaela's three-set win over her older sister in the Class AA Section 1 championship match.
But in the WPIAL semifinals, Michaela Kluska fell to Sewickley Academy's Sydney Miggantz, while Alyvia Kluska lost to Sewickley's Samantha Gohh.
That set up the consolation match between the sisters, but Alyvia Kluska decided right away to give Michaela the victory.
Now motivated even more in the doubles tournament, Alyvia Kluska rolled through the section doubles tournament with her partner, Smithberger.
While the duo hadn't played together in doubles prior to the section tournament, Kluska said it didn't take long for them to click.
"It wasn't that tough because we're close friends," Alyvia Kluska said. "We know each other well and know each other's games pretty well."
The tandem was seeded second at the WPIAL tournament and won its first two matches by a combined score of 20-10.
But in the semifinals against Beaver Area's Moriah Bridges and Mattie Taylor, the Centurions dropped a 6-4, 6-1, decision to fall into the consolation match.
But they rebounded the next day, sending Kluska back to states and Smithberger to Hershey for the first time.
"It means a lot to me because it's my senior year and to go to states with a great player is amazing," said Smithberger, a Scottdale resident. "We're going to do well and have a good time."
The Centurions will have the second-most participants at the state tournament from the WPIAL, behind Sewickley Academy's four.
"They put a lot of time in on the court and it paid off for them," Centurions coach Shawn Vimislicky said.
"You get out of it what you put into to it, just like any other sport and right now the girls are getting the rewards of it."
First Published October 9, 2013 8:00 PM