Like most teams at the WPIAL doubles tournament, the Fox Chapel Area duo of Laurel Shymansky and Lacey Cohen are usually top singles players for their school team who paired together to try to win the district title.
But unlike most teams, which have very little experience playing together, Cohen and Shymansky have been doubles partners since they were 8 years old.
That experience paid dividends Thursday, as the Foxes' pair of sophomores fought through some distractions and a very good North Allegheny team of Anna Li and Maddy Adams on their home court to win the WPIAL Class AAA title, 7-5, 6-4.
"I'm just so happy right now," Shymansky said.
After winning the Class AAA Section 3 tournament, the duo entered the WPIAL tournament as the No. 2 seed. They lost just seven games in their first three matches, advancing to the championship match and clinching a berth at the PIAA Class AAA doubles tournament Nov. 1-2 in Hershey.
Despite having already wrapped up a state tournament berth, Shymansky and Cohen admitted they were nervous prior to the match against Adams and Li, the top seed.
"We were a little nervous," Cohen said. "We also had to come in with a belief we could win, but didn't want to go in too cocky."
Adams and Li led the majority of the first set, but with the Tigers' pair leading, 5-4, Shymansky and Cohen won the next three games to take the first set.
"We played more aggressively," Shymansky said. "We didn't let them take control of the points."
The Foxes carried the momentum into the second set, where they closed it out to become the first Fox Chapel duo to win the WPIAL girls doubles title since Amanda Campbell and Vanessa Steiner in 2004.
They had to do it in what at times was a circus-like atmosphere.
The Tigers' tennis courts not only played host to the WPIAL Class AAA championship and consolation matches and the WPIAL Class AA championship and consolation matches, but also about five other matches.
So there was a lot of noise and a lot of balls flying onto different courts. Add to that the fact that the sound from the North Allegheny marching band, which was practicing nearby, resonated throughout the campus, and it made it tough to communicate and to focus.
But the Foxes tandem didn't let anything affect their goal of winning a championship.
"We just zoned it all out," Shymansky said.
"We just kept our eye on the prize," Cohen added.hsother
First Published October 9, 2013 8:00 PM