South Xtra: South Park pair has WPIAL hopes
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South Park seniors Chelsea Carter and Sara Kaminski didn't lose a set during the 2011 Section 5-AA doubles tournament.
In their first three matches in last week's section doubles tournament, the Eagles' pair lost just three games.
But none of those matches were the best the duo has played together. According to South Park coach Chuck Correll Jr., Carter and Kaminski saved their best for last.
South Park's top doubles team cruised in the Section 5-AA doubles championship match last week, beating the Keystone Oaks tandem of Maura Gray and Emily Valley, 6-1, 6-0, to win its second title in a row.
"That was two very good players from Keystone Oaks they faced, but that was the best doubles match I've ever seen them play," Correll said. "If they do that at the WPIAL tournament, they have an excellent shot at advancing."
The WPIAL doubles tournament begins today at 10:30 a.m. with the Class AA matches at Keystone Oaks. Class AAA matches will also be today at Norwin High School. Finals and consolation matches are scheduled for Friday at North Allegheny.
Carter and Kaminski have been playing together for three years, finishing fourth in the section doubles tournament as sophomores. They also started playing together during the summers, attending a few tournaments and also pairing up during a clinic they attend.
They have become very close friends and have spent so much time together, that they answered almost exactly the same when each was asked separately why they make a successful doubles pairing.
"We are best friends," Kaminski said. "We know each other's strengths and weaknesses."
"We are such good friends," Carter said. "We both know what we are going to do and what each other's strengths are."
Carter said the team is best when she is serving and Kaminski is at the net, because Kaminski is great at volleys while she likes to hit passing shots.
Correll said, though, that it doesn't matter where each player is, because the team's strength is its lack of weaknesses.
"They are such a nice pair," Correll said. "Usually when you have two players together, a team will find a weakness to pick on. But it's hard to find weaknesses with these two. They both have good forehands and backhands. They both have good serves and returns."
The pair will be looking to do better this week at the WPIAL tournament than it did last year, when it lost in the first round to Quaker Valley's Susie Kraus and Kelsey Spaulding. Correll said the extra year will make a difference.
"They are more mature, more confident and more prepared," Correll said. "Just being a year older and being seniors, that's a big deal."
Kaminski said the goal for the team is to qualify for the PIAA tournament and the key will be coming out and not letting the moment get to them.
"We're hoping to make it to states," she said. "We have to play like we did at sections. We have to be confident. We can't play tight. We have to loosen up."
First Published October 4, 2012 12:00 am