Kiski Area, Valley, Highlands prepare for the WPIAL Team Tennis Tournament



Friday, April 29, 2022 | 6:33 p.m.

The Kiski Area Boys’ Tennis Team opens the WPIAL Class 3A Tag Team Tournament on Tuesday as the No. 9 seed, and the Cavaliers, Franklin Regional runners-up in Section 1, will face No. 8 Central Catholic in 3 p.m. in Norwin.

The match comes almost 10 years to the day since the last time Kiski Area parked in a WPIAL Tag Team Tournament match.

On that day, May 7, 2012, the Cavaliers, led by WPIAL singles qualifier Charles Law, along with Tyler and Thad Paunovich and Zach Ferraccio, arrived as the No. 11 seed and lost 5-0. against the Central Catholic No. 6 in the first round.

This year’s squad are hoping for a different result in the first round, and coach Trent Goerk thinks they can pull it off.

“We built the program and hoped to have a team that would collectively be able to qualify for the playoffs,” Goerk said. “We’ve had guys do WPIAL singles and doubles over the last decade, but not the whole team. The section was difficult for a while with very good teams. But our guys were quite experienced from last year and they put everything together. I’m really proud of them for their game all season.

Kiski Area missed the playoffs by one game last year. Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford, Latrobe and Norwin secured the section’s tournament offers.

The Cavaliers will have juniors Jackson Newell and Nate Coleman and second Calder Gee in singles, and juniors Tre Curry and Andres Bordoy in doubles No. 1, with junior Ethan Beck and senior Zach Jordan in doubles No. 2.

The winner between the Cavaliers and Vikings will face the winner of No. 1 Franklin Regional and No. 16 Moon in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Kiski Area finished section play 5-2 with losses to Franklin Regional, 5-0, and Hempfield, 3-2.

He clinched his playoff ticket with key wins over Norwin, 3-2, and Connellsville, 5-0. The Cavaliers won the tiebreaker against Norwin, also 5-2 in the section, and earned the top seed.

The top two in Class 3A qualify for the PIAA Playoffs.

Class 2A

As Kiski Area makes its long-awaited return to the playoffs, Valley keeps rolling and the Vikings are in the Class 2A playoffs for the fifth straight year.

Valley finished 6-1 in the 3-2A Division, second to North Catholic (7-0) and is the No. 6 seed. It will host Hampton in the first round at 3 p.m. Monday.

The Vikings, led by senior team captains Dario Wolfe (No. 3 in singles) and Nate Clarke (No. 1 in doubles), are hoping for another deep run after reaching the semi-finals last year as a as seeded No. 3.

“We had a number of players who progressed after last year, and I like how everyone has adapted,” said Wolfe, who will play college at Allegheny. “We’ve played really well as a team all season, and I like our chances in the playoffs.”

Wolfe and juniors Nicholas Bussard (#1) and Dylan Gentile (#2) will form the singles roster on Monday, while Clarke and junior Ethan Harcelrode and the duo of junior Zachary Doran and rookie Landon Harcelrode form the doubles teams.

Valley advanced to the semifinals last year after losing in the quarterfinals three years in a row.

“We went into this season with realistic optimism, having five guys in new positions and three of them being first-year starters,” Valley coach Rachael Link said. “Our goal as a team was to raise the caliber of our game and improve our knowledge of the pitch.

“Finishing in second place in our competitive section is an achievement due to their determination and unwavering work ethic in every practice and match. The rapid growth has been propelled by them training each other, against and with .

Highlands is a playoff team for the fourth straight season. The Golden Rams lost in the first round in 2018 but advanced to the quarter-finals in 2019 and last year.

The Golden Rams finished 4-3 Section 3-2A, fourth behind North Catholic, Valley and Indiana (5-2).

They will start the tournament on Monday as the No. 13 seed and visit No. 4 Thomas Jefferson at 3.

“This team started coming together last summer,” said veteran coach Tyler Kirin, who won his 100th game as Highlands coach against Knoch on March 24. “These guys love to play the game, and they’re here to develop their skills and work to get better. A lot of that is down to what they do and their dedication to themselves and each other. I could saying early on that things were falling into place and we had a good shot at making the playoffs. I like our chances on Monday.

Sophomore Sam Norris leads the way to No. 1 in singles, followed by senior Richard Ratliff and junior Luke Vunora at No. 2 and No. 3 in singles. Monday’s doubles teams are expected to be loaded with seniors with Ronald Ratliff and Daniel Babinsack at No. 1 and Seth Gorney and Jake Peters at No. 2.

“I’m very excited for this game against TJ,” Norris said. “We have a good shot. Some people might not think we can win on Monday. But I think we are a better team than the No. 13 seed. We will have the opportunity to prove it.

In Class 2A, the top three teams qualify for the States.

Michael Love is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

Keywords: Domaine Kiski, Valley


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