Shady Side, Sewickley capture WPIAL boys tennis titles

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The WPIAL boys tennis championships played out a familiar scene Thursday at North Allegheny.

Shady Side Academy beat Mt. Lebanon, 3-2, for its third consecutive WPIAL Class AAA title and fourth in five years; Sewickley Academy captured its 11th consecutive WPIAL Class AA championship with a 4-1 win against Mars.

"There's just a tremendous pride to represent Sewickley Academy and carry on a winning tradition," Panthers coach Whitney Snyder said. "These kids know the kids before them and there are kids that are 30 years old that still call me and ask how the team's doing."

The Panthers and the Indians were familiar with their foes Thursday.

Shady Side Academy faced Mt. Lebanon for the fourth consecutive year in the WPIAL playoffs. The Indians won last season in the semifinals and in the 2012 WPIAL title match; the Blue Devils won the 2011 championship.

This season, Shady Side Academy's advantage in doubles was too much for the Blue Devils. The Indians' No. 1 doubles team of Chris Grubbs and Michael Kann, who won the WPIAL Class AAA doubles title last week, took down Mt. Lebanon's Nick Reese and Christian Vietmeier, 6-0, 6-4, and Shady Side's No. 2 team, Henry Cohen and Naveen Jain, lost just two games in a win against Tim Sullivan and Ryan Stentz.

"I don't even really go down and watch [our doubles teams] because I have so much confidence in them," Shady Side Academy coach Tom Mercer said with a smile. "It's more the singles matches."

Mt. Lebanon got its two wins from Peter Hazlett and Dane Bendel at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. But junior Eric Grubbs, Chris' brother, got the third point for the Indians at No. 3 singles with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory against Charlie Strohl to clinch the third consecutive win against the Blue Devils in the playoffs.

The Class AA match was a rematch of a WPIAL championship last season, as the third time this season the two Section 3 foes met.

Sewickley won all three of those matches, but Mars was able to spring an upset Thursday at No. 1 doubles, as Noah Raymundo and Alex Gruber beat 2014 WPIAL Class AA doubles champions Ryan Gex and Luke Vith in straight sets.

The Panthers got two straight-set wins at No. 3 singles from Danny McCormick and No. 2 doubles from Andrew Parda and Brian Rosario. So the match came down the first two singles spots, both of which went three sets.

At No. 1 singles, Sewickley freshman Luke Ross and Mars sophomore Josh Raymundo met for the fourth time, with Raymundo winning twice in the regular season and Ross taking the WPIAL Class AA singles championship.

This time, Ross won, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, to give the Panthers their 19th title in the past 22 years.

Sam Sauter beat Aaron Gruber in a third-set tiebreaker to give Sewickley its fourth point.

"Mars deserves a ton of credit because they battled us and we had to bring our A-plus game to win this match," Snyder said.


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