PG North: NA doubles team pleased with silver at state tourney
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To North Allegheny High School's Mikayla Becich and Kylie Isaacs, finishing as runners-up in the PIAA Class AAA doubles tournament was an accomplishment that left them feeling second to none.
"Oh, yeah, of course," said Becich, a junior. "Being it was our first time there and our first year as a doubles team, it's great.
"We're riding high on that feeling."
Becich and Isaacs won the WPIAL doubles title early last month and continued their impressive run -- not losing a set -- through the first three rounds of the PIAA tournament this past Friday and Saturday at the Hershey Racquet Club.
The North Allegheny duo lost only eight games over six sets in three victories against doubles teams from Conestoga, Erie McDowell and Manheim Township before losing to Lauren Stauffer and Caroline Barry of Manheim Township, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6), in the final.
"It's just so amazing to work so hard and then for it to pay off in something like this," said Isaacs, a freshman.
It was not a bad showing for a pair of players who were put together as a doubles team six weeks ago for the Section 2-AAA tournament -- a tournament that they did not even win, coming in second. But Isaacs and Becich placed higher at the WPIAL tournament and just as high in the PIAA as they did in their own section.
"I think it was always our goal, but we never thought we'd make it this far," Becich said. "Maybe we did, but I think we were just kind of hoping that we would."
Both Isaacs and Becich are accomplished singles players. Isaacs over the years has approached being ranked among the top 50 nationally in her graduating class by tennisrecruiting.net and the top 10 by tennisRPI. Becich is ranked No. 82 by the USTA in its Middle States Region.
But it seems as if they also have a proficiency in -- and affinity for -- the doubles game.
"I love doubles, and I especially love working with Kylie," Becich said. "We work together great. She's one of my best friends, so it is fun and easy to play with her."
One week after leading Shady Side Academy to the second PIAA Class AAA team title during her four-year high school career, Perelman was participating in another championship match in Hershey -- this won for the PIAA singles title.
Although Perelman lost to Yurovsky, a silver and a gold medal each over an eight-day span was satisfying enough, particularly when the gold came in the one that mattered to her most.
"Of course, it's so much more fun with the team, and the whole team championship is just a great accomplishment and really means so much more than individuals," Perelman said. "I was happy we had so much success the week before and I really just wanted to take care of business and do the best I could in the singles tournament.
"When you're with a team, it's a much sweeter victory. I guess you could say that I'm happy with the results, and if I had to win just one, I'm glad it was that."
Perelman, who will play tennis at Cornell University in the Ivy League beginning next fall, was participating in her first PIAA individual tournament after being part of three Shady Side Academy teams that had advanced to the PIAA championship match.
Ranked No. 77 nationally and No. 11 in the Middle Atlantic Region by tennisrecruiting.net, Perelman did not lose a set in the WPIAL or PIAA singles tournaments -- except to Yurovsky, who is a friend of hers.
"I'm happy that Ronit was the one who won it if I didn't," Perelman said.
As a freshman last year, Quaker Valley's Spencer Caravaggio placed third in the WPIAL Class AA singles tournament and lost her first-round match at the PIAA singles championships.
This season, she improved on each dramatically.
The top player on the Quakers' WPIAL championship team, Caravaggio followed up her WPIAL singles title by placing second in the PIAA Class AA singles tournament this past weekend at the Hershey Racquet Club.
"Getting to the final was exciting," Caravaggio said a day after completing a run to the final in which she lost only one set in three matches before losing, 6-1, 6-3, to defending PIAA champion Julia Casselbury of Lancaster Country Day. "Of course I wanted to win the whole thing, but I'm pretty content with second."
Caravaggio is ranked among the top 300 nationally and top 32 in the Middle Atlantic Region by tennisrecruiting.net and is No. 38 in the USTA's Middle States Region.
She just happened to run into a player in Casselbury who is ranked even higher and has dominated the PIAA tournament the past two years, having not lost a set and having had beaten the WPIAL champion in the final each season.
"She's probably the most athletic player I've ever played against," Caravaggio said.
Caravaggio sounds as if she won't rest until she herself gets to that level, too.
"I've been working with my coach [Frank Baritot] a lot on speed and my forehand and technique and a lot of other stuff," Caravaggio said. "I think that will help, and I hope by next year, I will be standing on the first-place podium instead of the second-place one."
Sewickley Academy freshman Samantha Gohh was the first victim of Casselbury in the PIAA tournament. Gohh, the third-place WPIAL Class AA finisher, lost in the first round to Casselbury, 6-0, 6-0.
Gohh, who lives in the North Allegheny School District, is the top player on a Panthers team that was a WPIAL finalist and PIAA semifinalist.
Also from Sewickley Academy, the WPIAL Class AA runner-up team of juniors Caroline Ross and Maria Frischling lost in the first round to a team from Loyalsock.
"I've learned so much from playing with [Frischling]," said Ross, who lives in Sewickley. "We complement each other in so many ways."
First Published November 11, 2010 12:00 am