Kat Wang

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Kat Wang connects on a backhand during section championship action. The Peters Township sophomore defeated Lauren Masteller of Mt. Lebanon, 6-2, 6-2, in the finals to earn the section title.

SOUTH PARK – Kat Wang surprised herself in how she won the Section 4-AAA girls tennis title. The Peters Township sophomore used a strong serve to dispatch Lauren Marstellar of Mt. Lebanon in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.

“Usually, it isn’t my strength but my serve just happened to be working,” Wang said. “I felt my serves were working. Though they got a little worse in the second set, they got better toward the end.”

Meanwhile Wang’s teammate, Marra Bruce, played better because the championship and consolation matches were played at the Glen Creek Tennis Center. The freshman dispatched Maggie Stief from Upper St. Clair, 6-3, 6-1, to claim third place.

“I definitely play better inside than outside for sure,” said Bruce, whose home base is the Upper St. Clair Tennis Center, which erects a bubble over the courts during the winter months.

The first rounds of the section tournament were played outside at the Mt. Lebanon High School tennis courts. There Bruce met her match in Marstellar, who won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals. Bruce had opened with pro set wins in the first and second rounds of competition.

“I wasn’t on,” she said of the first day of competition. “I played better (in the consolation match) and got it done.”

Bruce, whose older brother Connor was a WPIAL singles champion as well as a PIAA doubles winner this spring, was seeded No. 1 in the tournament.

“I kind of felt that pressure,” Bruce said, “and there’s a little bit of pressure following in my brother’s footsteps.

“I’m disappointed I did not win but hopefully I can come back strong in the WPIAL. Of course,” she said enthusiastically, “maybe I can sneak up on some people. Yes, I think I can win if I try my best.”

Wang and Bruce will be trying their best to gain a spot in the PIAA championships when they vie Sept. 18 and 19 in the WPIAL singles tournament to be held at North Allegheny or Shady Side Academy.

“I want to qualify for states,” Bruce said.

“Qualify for states,” agreed Wang, “and just play as well as I can at WPIALs.”

The top three finishers at the district meet advance to the PIAA championships set for Nov. 1-2 in Hershey.

The section doubles tournaments will be held Sept. 25-26 with the WPIAL championships set for Oct. 2-3.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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