Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beaver Area Ready for Another Playoff Run

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beaver Area Ready for Another Playoff Run

Article excerpt

At first glance, it appeared Beaver Area had moved its practice to Moon last Friday.

After all, there were the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, Anne Taylor and Moriah Bridges, smacking the ball back and forth like they do almost every day. Only this time, the two were playing in the WPIAL Class 2A consolation match for a berth in the PIAA singles championships Nov. 4-5 at Hershey Racquet Club.

In the end, Taylor, the 2015 WPIAL singles champion, outlasted her teammate for a 6-4, 6-3 victory that locked up her second consecutive appearance in the state finals

Though Bridges won't make the trip to Hershey for the singles or doubles championships - she opted against playing section doubles for personal reasons - she and Taylor will likely be on the court in Hershey next weekend for the PIAA 2A team championships. Like any state qualifier, Beaver Area will have to play its way into the tournament and will have the opportunity Tuesday when the Bobcats take on District 5 champion Bedford.

"With the format being different with the team championships first and then singles and doubles, we were working with our doubles teams for states and then working with everybody and our normal lineup," Beaver coach Riley Baker said. "I wouldn't say we're doing anything different. We're just practicing groundstrokes and serves and volleys and just regular team practices."

Last season, with essentially the same lineup, Beaver became the first WPIAL team to make it to the 2A state championship match since Sewickley Academy won it all in 2011. The Panthers are the only WPIAL team ever to win a 2A state championship since the team aspect was officially recognized by the PIAA in 2000.

Winning it all, though, could be a challenge.

Though District 10 did not have its championship tournament until Thursday, Mercyhurst Prep was the prohibitive favorite after winning every 2A district title since 2000. The Lakers are also the four-time defending PIAA champions and would have to be considered the team to beat when the state finals begin.

Sewickley Academy will likely face Mercyhurst Prep Tuesday in the play-in round. …

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