Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upper St. Clair Wins Team Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upper St. Clair Wins Team Title

Article excerpt

If there is one sure thing at Upper St. Clair, it's that, if the boys tennis team makes it to the WPIAL Class AAA team finals, it will be coming home with a title.

Since 1995 the Panthers have been in the team championship match 10 times and have won the title every time, including this year when they squeezed past four-time defending champion Shady Side Academy, 3-2, at Bethel Park last week.

"We lost in the semis a few times and took our lumps," Upper St. Clair coach Ron Mercer said. "But I'm proud of that. I got my team ready and gave them the 'have to win' speech."

Now that Upper St. Clair has won the 16th title in school history and first since 2008, the team has reset its goal and the focus has shifted to the PIAA Class AAA tournament, which continues today at the Hershey Racquet Club. With that sojourn to South Central Pennsylvania comes another tradition that the Panthers hope will stand: That every time they make it this far, they play in the state final.

Since 2001 when the PIAA first added a team tennis final, Upper St. Clair has made five appearances in the tournament, all during its run of consecutive WPIAL Class AAA titles from 2004-08.

The Panthers pushed through to the championship match every time and, in 2008, they took home the gold with their only state team tennis title in school history with a 3-2 victory against Lower Merion in the finals.

Their history in the event certainly gives the team quite a bit of confidence after a 5-0 win against City League champion Brashear in the first round of the tournament played on Tuesday.

"I think we might be able to do it this year because we're pretty strong," Mercer said. "Our No. 1 can win, our doubles can win and I don't know about the Philadelphia teams, but we're confident going into states."

What will help the cause is if Upper St. …

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