The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 16, 2012

Mount Aloysius women’s tennis on the fast track

CRESSON — There's a newcomer on the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference women's tennis postseason scene, and Mount Aloysius College has no plans on going anywhere.

The Lady Mounties are in their third season, not including one year as a club team, under the direction of Mike Kush, who also serves as girls tennis coach at Westmont Hilltop High School.

Mount Aloysius' ascent through the conference ranks has been rapid.

The Lady Mounties finished the regular season with a 9-2 record, which includes a 6-2 conference record. Mount Aloysius finished third in the conference and completed another program first when it defeated Pitt-Bradford, 6-3, for the program's first postseason victory. With the victory, the team advanced to the conference semifinals against top-seeded Penn State Behrend, which has won 13 of the past 14 conference championships.

The match will be played Saturday at The Oxford Athletic Club in Wexford.

"Last year, we finished eighth in the conference. At our banquet, I said my goal for the team was to make the top six and make the conference playoffs," Kush said. "I knew we what we had coming in, we'd be a lot better."

What Mount Aloysius had coming in was a solid freshman recruiting class chock full of local talent. It helped the Lady Mounties improve from a three-win team a year ago, and one that won one match in its initital season.

The freshman class is led by Cheyenne Feathers, a Windber High School graduate who has played No. 1 singles. Katie Morris, who played at Bedford, plays No. 2 singles.

"Our top four girls are all freshmen and they were all number one or two for their high schools. I knew if I could get one or two of those girls, it would make a difference," Kush said. "There's a lot of local girls playing tennis within a 60-mile radius who don't know about the opportunity to play Division III tennis."

While Division III does not allowcate scholarship money for athletics, it does for academics, and that's one way Kush has been able to attract local talent to Mount Aloysius.

"It's an opportunity for a good education at a small school," he said. "A lot of these girls come from smaller areas and they're not looking for a big-city campus."

And Mount Aloysius is also offering tennis players a chance to compete for a conference championship.

Freshmen Loreal Housler and Brittany Johnson also play singles for the Lady Mounties. Housler's arrival was a bit of a surprise for Kush, as the former Elk County Catholic standout planned to attend another college before she decided to continue her playing career.

"I knew with (Feather and Morris) that we'd be a lot better," Kush said.

"When we added (Housler) at the last minute, I don't think finishing third in the conference was a shock. The thing with these girls is they are not content. They want to win the whole thing, and I think we have a shot."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Sports Video

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow