Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bethel Park Wants Its Day in Sun

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bethel Park Wants Its Day in Sun

Article excerpt

Long playing in the shadows of South Hills neighbors and Section 4-AAA rivals Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and Peters Township, the Bethel Park boys' tennis team wants to make a name for itself.

"I'm pleased with the whole team this year," said Doug Addington, the Black Hawks' coach for a decade. "It's a really good atmosphere. The players have responded well and work good as a team. There is good camaraderie among the players this year. I'd say as an overall team, I think it's one of the better teams I've had spread out throughout the lineup."

While Bethel Park is only 2-2 on the season, the losses have come to Upper St. Clair and Peters Township -- perennial powers in the section -- in competitively played matches, several of which went three sets.

Where in past years, Bethel Park might have had a couple of high- end players, the doubles teams are winning matches and the junior varsity team defeated powerful Upper St. Clair last week.

"We are taking some steps in the right direction," Addington said. "We acquitted ourselves well in our wins and even in our losses. I'm looking forward to playing Peters next time and giving them a run.

"Everyone is very competitive with each other on this team, even the JV. We have to call some of those kids up from time to time, and they have responded well."

No. 1 singles player Zach Thomas said Addington and assistant Leigh Ann Totty are bringing a new attitude to Black Hawks tennis. Addington has always cared about his players, but Thomas said he is much more comfortable getting his message across this year.

Thomas and fellow senior Jim Valancius have made a conscious effort to turn up the competitiveness of the team, making it a much closer, more cohesive group.

"Tennis is such an individual sport, you are by yourself with a player across the net," said Thomas, a Slippery Rock recruit. "When you have a team, it's so different, they talk about it during the Davis Cup on ESPN.

"You notice the sparks and fire USC and Mt. …

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