South Xtra: Upper St. Clair duo are taking doubles tournament seriously
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Megan Adamo had her fun and made a nice run at the section and WPIAL Class AAA tennis singles tournaments ... but now, the real fun for her begins.
Adamo, a junior at Upper St. Clair, was a WPIAL singles quarterfinalist last week. Beginning today, Adamo will embark on what is a legitimate run at a WPIAL championship.
Adamo and partner Andrea Hammer are among the short list of favorites to win the WPIAL Class AAA doubles championship. The duo will play in the Section 4-AAA doubles tournament today at Baldwin High School. The top three finishers of that event qualify for the WPIAL tournament that begins next week.
"I really like to focus on doubles in high school," Adamo said. "Singles is just a nice addition to be able to play."
Adamo defeated Pine-Richland's Marlys Bridgham, 10-4, in the first round last Thursday at Keystone Oaks High School. She lost in a 10-5 pro set to Stephanie Smith of Peters Township in the quarterfinals.
"She's gotten stronger physically this year," Panthers coach Ryan Taucher said. "She is developing her serve more as a player and also she's maturing well as a tennis player. She's gotten stronger mentally on and off the court as far as the things she's doing, improving the parts of her game that need improvement."
While Adamo focuses on doubles when playing high school tennis, she is a singles star during the summer. Adamo is a regular on the USTA tournament circuit, and she is ranked No. 8 by the USTA among the 16 age grouping in its Middle States Region that covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and parts of West Virginia. She is ranked No. 3 in the state and No. 186 nationally in her graduating class by tennisrecruiting.net.
"I've really focused on improving my game over the past year from all aspects," Adamo said. "I need to tweak stuff, and it's been coming together and matches have been going my way more often."
What has improved the most about your game recently, Megan?
"My consistency. I know I'm not going to beat myself, and my opponents know it, too. They have to beat me. I've worked to ensure I get as many balls back in play as possible so that other things are starting to come along with my game in terms of closing out points."
Adamo's talent, combined with that of Hammer, would mean that they would likely form a good doubles team regardless. But when it comes to doubles, it's obvious the two have chemistry. Adamo and Hammer were WPIAL Class AAA doubles tournament runners-up and were PIAA tournament quarterfinalists last year.
Heading into the week, Hammer was undefeated as Upper St. Clair's second singles player.
"She's having a good year as a player," Taucher said. "She's also improved a great deal on and off the court, training to improve her fitness. She's also mentally stronger than she was a year ago. That success she had last year in doubles, making it all the way to the state playoffs, that helped her greatly improve this year as a singles player."
Adamo and Hammer are two primary reasons why Upper St. Clair was 10-2 overall and 10-1 in section play heading into a section match against Oakland Catholic Wednesday. USC blanked Bethel Park, 5-0, Tuesday.
The Black Hawks and Eagles are the Panthers' top rivals for what could be a fascinating race for second and third place in Section 4-AAA. Of course, should the Panthers go unbeaten between now and their regular-season finale, they could be playing for a share of the section title against section leader Mt. Lebanon.
The top three teams in each section qualify for the WPIAL team tournament. Last season, the Panthers were quarterfinalists.
"I'm very happy with the way we've played so far this season," Taucher said. "We're definitely improving.
"We hope to finish strong and try to win the rest of our matches. If we can win out and possibly beat Mt. Lebanon the second time we play them, that would be huge."
Junior Alyza Madson is Upper St. Clair's third singles player, and senior Catherine Engel and sophomore Kristin Stemmler have been playing first doubles. Junior Kelly Burdette and senior Madyson Scheller typically play second doubles.
Madson and Engel will team up as a second doubles duo for the section tournament.
First Published September 29, 2011 12:00 am