Girls tennis team off to a good start


Norwin Athletics

The 2021 girls tennis team

Julie Chenot and Alyssa Laukus

The Norwin Girls Tennis team is off to the best start in years.  Sitting atop the Section 1-AAA rankings, they are 10-0, only losing 3 matches within the best of 5 games all season.  Diane Pesarsick coaches The Lady Knights who have their biggest and most experienced team since Pesarsick took over the role in 2018.   

     The Lady Knight’s top singles player is senior Jenna Beach, who has not lost a match this season.  Beach is one of the top players in the WPIAL and finished top 4 at the sectionals tournament to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.  The second singles player is senior Sydney Pesarsick, daughter of Diane, who is a four year letterwinner and a team captain. Sadie Cuturilo, junior, holds the team’s third singles spot. The team has 23 members, 11 of which are on varsity, including 6 seniors.

      The doubles’ teams have seen similar success this season. The top doubles team is Abby Campbell (11) and Jordan Napierkowski (12), who have only one loss. The Lady Knights other doubles team rotates between Shawna Sinchak (12), Lizzy Nicholson (12), and Olivia Knoechel (12). 

      This year’s team might even be the strongest Norwin Girls Tennis team ever. The team is  undefeated  through Sept. 22, and cite their consistency and teamwork as one of the main causes for this success.  

      “I definitely think our biggest strength this year is how consistent we are as a team,” said Pesarsick. “Everyone is working incredibly hard, and the results continue to show. I also think how close-knit we are as a group contributes a lot to our success- it makes it easy to want to work hard when you enjoy being around the girls!”

     This feeling of togetherness is not a feeling only Pesarsick feels.

     “We are really, really close,” said Beach.  “This is definitely the closest team I’ve ever been on.”

     The Lady Knights started off the season with an out of section against Greensburg Central Catholic, where they won 4-1.  The team would not lose a match in the next 8 games straight.  In this stretch of games, the Knights took on Franklin Regional in what would end up being one of their most memorable games all season.

     “I think our match against Franklin Regional is my favorite memory from this year,” said Pesarsick.  “Any time I could catch a glance at the other girls playing, the points I would see absolutely blew me away.  Not to mention that we beat them 5-0 for the first time in Norwin girls tennis history.”

    On Sept. 20, they matched up with Oakland Catholic, one of the top teams in the WPIAL, and came away with the 3-2 upset.  

     Unsurprisingly, there are some things that the Lady Knights wish to improve on as they head into the postseason.  Team sectional and WPIAL tournaments take place on Sept. 29, Sept. 30, and Oct. 6.

      “One of the things we could definitely improve on is being more offensive,” said Pesarsick. “It can be easy in a match to want to take the defensive position, but that isn’t always the best move. I know the capabilities of our team, and if we just push our mental boundaries a little further, I think we could see some incredible outcomes.”

     In individual competition, Beach qualified for WPIAL finals and will face off against Kat Wang of Peters Township on Sept. 23 and 24. 16 girls qualify for individuals in the WPIAL and are ranked in single elimination brackets; Beach is the 13th overall seed.  

     Amidst all the success, the girls tennis team is still learning. 

    “I think the most valuable lesson we have learned as a team is to not give up,” said Pesarsick.  “Even when it may seem like you don’t stand a chance against an opponent, give it your all.  You never know what might happen when you put your mind to it!”