When it comes to girls high school tennis in Beaver County, no program has achieved a tradition as storied as Beaver’s.
It’s the only Beaver County girls program to win a WPIAL team title (the Bobcats have seven WPIAL titles).
It’s the only Beaver County girls program to produce a WPIAL singles champion.
Girls such as Nikki Borza (1998), Alexandra Kaluza (2002) and Anna Taylor (2015) established themselves as some of the greatest Bobcats ever by winning WPIAL singles titles.
And now, Chloe DeSanzo ranks among the best to ever swing a racquet for Beaver.
DeSanzo, a senior, hasn’t won a WPIAL title. But on Thursday, she made it to the Class 2A championship round where she lost to Belle Vernon’s Gabriella Dusi.
And by reaching the finals, DeSanzo qualified for the PIAA Championships that will be held in Hershey in early November. She’s the first Beaver girl to make states since Taylor in 2015.
“I definitely had a goal to make it to Hershey this year,” DeSanzo said. “We went as a team my sophomore year and I really wanted to go back. I put in a lot of work and made it my goal to get there.”
“She’s had a tremendous season so far,” said Beaver coach Janet DiTullio. “She’s such a hard worker, just a wonderful, dedicated student athlete. She wants to compete and do well every single time she steps onto the court.
“We’re thrilled that Chloe has qualified for states, especially this being her senior year.”
DeSanzo has been in Beaver’s starting lineup since she was a freshman.
As a ninth grader, she competed in doubles. For the past three seasons, she’s been the Bobcats’ No. 1 singles player.
As a sophomore, she won the section title and then made it to the WPIAL quarterfinals
Last year, she finished second in the sectionals behind Sewickley Academy’s Ashley close, the eventual WPIAL champ, and then made it as far as the WPIAL quarterfinals.
This year, she’s put together an outstanding senior season.
She’s yet to lose in Section 4 competition.
On Sept. 15, she won the Midwestern Athletic Conference championship.
On Sept. 20-21, she entered the Section 4 tournament as the No. 1 seed and won all four or her matches, including a 7-5, 7-5 decision in the final against Sewickley Academy’s Gwyneth Belt.
Then on Wednesday at the courts at North Allegheny High School, she entered the WPIAL Championships as the No. 2 seed and won all three of her matches, including a grueling 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win in the semifinals over No. 3 seed Grace Stitt of Hampton.
On Thursday, DeSanzo lost in the final to Dusi, a sophomore who was the No. 5 seed.
“She’s very good,” DeSanzo said of Dusi. “Definitely a tough opponent.”
Although she didn’t win gold, DeSanzo did receive a silver runner-up medal and she did punch her ticket to the state tournament.
“It means a lot to go to states,” said DeSanzo, whose strengths as a tennis player include a strong serve and solid ground strokes near the baseline.
“This is what I’ve been working so hard for the past two or three years. So, it really feels good to make it.”
The PIAA Championships don’t take place until Nov. 3-4 at the Hershey Racquet Club, which is solely an indoor tennis facility.
Until then, DeSanzo won’t be playing a lot of competitive tennis.
The Bobcats, who are 7-1 overall and 5-1 in section play, conclude section play with a match Monday at Blackhawk. DeSanzo will play against the Cougars.
But as a singles player, she won’t Wednesday and Thursday when the sectional doubles tournament is played. Likewise for the WPIAL doubles tournament on Oct. 4-5.
DeSanzo will be back in action on Oct. 18 if, as expected, Beaver makes the WPIAL Team Championships.
So, until the state tournament the first weekend of November, it will be practice, practice and more practice for DeSanzo.
She’ll practice, of course, with her teammates. She’ll play some tennis with her father. She’ll also spend time at Alpha Tennis & Fitness, a tennis training and fitness facility in Harmar Township.
Besides her success on the tennis court, DeSanzo also takes care of business in the classroom. As a junior, she ranked second in her class academically and has a 4.136 grade point average.
She wants to major in civil engineering once she gets to college and plans on continuing her tennis career at the next level.
Among the college’s she’s considering are Shippensburg University and the University of Mount Union in Ohio.
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Hard work pays off: Beaver’s DeSanzo qualifies for PIAA tennis championships