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Trojan duo plays in PIAA doubles tennis tournament

The successful season of Parkland’s top doubles team ended last week miles from home in Pennsylvania’s heartland.

Sophomores Erin Joo and Leah Zolotareva were defeated Nov. 4 by State College’s Quiana Guo and Catelyn Janac 6-0, 6-2 in the PIAA Class 3A girls doubles championships, held at Mansion Park in Altoona.

Joo started the season as Parkland’s number one singles player. During the offseason, Joo “worked very hard on her game” to move up to the top slot,” he Parkland head coach Mike Hingston. “She just played great and is excited about the opportunity.”

Zolotareva, “a fierce competitor,” received the number two singles assignment. “She sets high expectations for herself,” Hingston said.

Those expectations have merit because Zolotareva has a solid backcourt game that often befuddles and then wears down opponents.

Each player individually impressed Hingston. As a doubles unit, the duo typically accentuated strengths and marginalized weaknesses.

The Parkland girls program had another strong year under Hingston going 8-0 during the abbreviated regular season. A 2-3 loss to a tough Southern Lehigh team in the District 11 Team Championships took away some of the season’s luster. But the Trojans received solid performances from several girls, a sign of their depth.

In addition to Joo and Zolotareva, senior Anshika Gupta served primarily as the team’s No. 3 singles player. The doubles teams - which were strong throughout the campaign - featured primarily the same combinations with a few changes as needed. Sierra Russo and Sneha Patel worked together well, while Gabrielle Leonzi teamed with Sophia Lee to play solid tennis. Julianna Dee and Kaila Miles worked hard this past season to show they belong and both figure to play an important role next fell for Parkland. Finally, Hope Broadhurst teamed at times with freshman Sophia Petrocelli in the No. 4 doubles spot.

“If you play well in practice, you’ll usually play well in the game,” Hingston said. “I tell the girls ‘let’s make sure you’re not contributing to a loss.’”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Parkland's Erin Joo (left) and Leah Zolotareva (right) won this year's District 11 doubles title and moved on to the state championship tournament under the direction of Trojan head coach Michael Hingston (rear).