South Xtra: Even with a new combo, Peters wins again
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It is a different year and she has a different partner, but Sara Komer's result at the WPIAL Class AAA girls doubles tournament was the same -- champion.
A Peters Township sophomore, she won her second consecutive WPIAL doubles title, as she paired with fellow sophomore Abby Cummings to defeat Oakland Catholic's Megan Wasson and Nicole Cyterski 6-2, 6-2, in the WPIAL final Friday at North Allegheny High School.
"It's a different partner, so it's a different experience, but it's awesome winning," Komer said.
Komer played with Stephanie Smith last year and the two not only won the WPIAL title, but the PIAA title as well. But Smith decided not to play high school tennis this season so she could concentrate on a USTA national tournament schedule.
So Komer paired with Cummings to win her second title in a row.
"That shows how good a player she is; how athletic she is," Peters Township coach Brandt Bowman said. "... It's impressive. It's a pretty good accomplishment for Sara. Hopefully, she can keep it going the next couple of years."
This year has been a struggle for Komer, as she missed the first month of the season with a hamstring injury. She returned to the court just in time for the section singles tournament in early September and the injury has steadily improved over the past month.
"I thought [Friday] she moved better than I've seen her move in a while," Bowman said.
In addition to the injury, Komer is a singles player for Peters in team play, as is Cummings. So the two didn't get a chance to play together this season until the Section 5-AAA tournament on Sept. 27, but they have played together in the past. Komer and Cummings grew up playing together, having teamed up for USTA tournaments as far back as when they were 10 years old.
So both said it didn't take long for them to click on the court.
"I think our styles of play just really complement each other well," Cummings said.
Komer and Cummings coasted through the section tournament, losing only four points in three matches. The tandem was given the No. 3 seed at the WPIAL tournament and won its first match, 10-1, against Shady Side Academy's Anisa Khalouf and Liza Plakseychuk. But the team ran into trouble in the quarterfinals, barely getting by with a 10-8 triumph against Pine-Richland's Marlys Bridgham and Laura Feger.
After that close call, the two turned up their play. They dispatched No. 2 seed Kylie Isaacs and Maddy Adams of North Allegheny, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals, and then saved possibly their best match for last against the No. 1-seeded duo from Oakland Catholic.
"They didn't make a lot of mistakes, but they also played aggressively around the net," Bowman said. "I call it smart aggressive. When you're doing that, it starts to wear on your opponents because they feel like they have to hit perfect shots and they start making errors.
"They know what they're doing positionally and they volley well. If you do that, you're going to be pretty successful in doubles."
It also helped that Komer was familiar with Wasson and Cyterski, since she and Smith defeated the Eagles' pair in the semifinals of the 2011 WPIAL tournament.
"I feel like playing them before helps you know what their game styles are and how to beat them," Komer said.
Now Komer will attempt to get her second state title and Cummings her first on Nov. 2-3 in Hershey. Anything less would fall below the duo's expectations.
"I think any time you do anything, you want to win," Cummings said. "We're going there to win, but we know there is a lot of good competition."