Kat Wang surprised herself in how she captured 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.”

Wang’s teammate, Marra Bruce, played better because the championship and consolation matches were played at Glen Creek Tennis Center in South Park. 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 Upper St. Clair Tennis Center, which features a bubble over the courts during the winter months.

The first rounds of the section tournament were played outside at Mt. Lebanon High School. 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 added, “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.

Wang said she has the same goal.

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

In a Section 3-AAA championship match, Mia Gorman of Bethel Park lost to Baldwin’s Bethany Yauch, 6-4, 6-2, in the finals.

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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