By HANNAH STEELE- On August 24th, the IHS Girl’s tennis team began their triumphant season with a victorious match against Greensburg-Salem. The team continued their consistent winning streak, ending the season with a loss in the second round playoffs to eventual WPIAL champions Sewickley Academy.
The varsity team finished with a 10-4 record, and the JV team completed the season with a 2-2 record.
Seniors Kelsey Heckert and Lauren Bertig competed at Valley High School for section doubles, and finished by coming in first place with four wins. They then moved on to the WPIAL tournament, and became WPIAL AA doubles champions. This qualified them to go to the state tournament, where they won the consolation finals and placed 3rd in the state.
Kelsey Heckert, who played number one singles said, “Tennis has been one of the best experiences because of the friendly atmosphere and the relaxing practices. It’s all about enjoying the game and working hard to get better. It’s been a crazy ride and I’m so thankful to be able to be successful at states two years in a row. To end our high school tennis careers with a win is a rare experience, so it’s really exciting.”
“To be able to compete in the state tournament two years in a row was very exciting,” number two singles player Lauren Bertig stated, “Kelsey and I had no idea what to expect, but we won the first two matches pretty easily and played an exciting last match to win 3rd place.”
Senior Katie Kane, who played number three singles, also had a great season. “I didn’t really have any expectations for the season, I just wanted to have fun and enjoy playing on the team with my friends one last time. Next year I do not plan on playing collegiate tennis, but maybe as an intramural club sport.”
Mr. Palko, the head coach of both the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams, had glowing things to say about the season. “It was a great experience having nine seniors on the team. Kelsey Heckert earned four varsity tennis letters, which is quite an accomplishment. We also saw two seniors, Nabeeha Affan and Mia Spadafora, earn starting spots just this year. With the entire starting lineup graduating, next season will be a great opportunity for seven new starters to step up.” He added, “We all grew as a team this year. The season was fantastic.”
With a 10-4 varsity record and a 3rd place in the state tournament, it is safe to say that the IHS Girl’s tennis team had an incredibly successful season.
[Photo by Phil Palko]
Photo Caption: WPIAL AA Doubles Champions Lauren Bertig and Kelsey Heckert smile with their gold medals after their match.