This year’s junior class in WVC girls tennis proved extremely talented and, as a result, is well-represented in this latest Citizens’ Voice All-Star team.
And, just as she has the two years prior, Wyoming Area’s Brianna Pizzano set the standard with her consistency.
The 17-year-old rolled to an undefeated regular season and won District 2 Class 2A silver medals in both singles and doubles competition.
Thus, Brianna — the daughter of Steve and Tiffany Pizzano — was once again a deserving choice as the Player of the Year.
Pizzano will look to return to the district gold medal stand and state tournament as a senior next season.
But before that, the Exeter native recently spoke to staff writer Tyler Piccotti about her impressive junior campaign and what she expects of herself in 2019.
Q: This is your third-straight CV Player of the Year selection. What does it mean to have another great season and receive that honor again?
A: I’m very excited. I never take it for granted with all the talent in this league. I just have been putting in so much work this season and also the offseason.
Q: Kind of bouncing off that, how would you describe the dedication it takes to maintain the high level of play you’ve had?
A: It takes a lot of work, a lot of tournaments to get to a higher level. You also have to just work out and do the extra work to be successful.
Q: When the season abruptly ends and, all of a sudden, there are no more matches, does that take a while to sink in?
A: I still do tournaments, though, but it’s very different to not go to my normal matches from the fall. But, I don’t put down my tennis racket ever. I just keep going until softball season.
Q: Even if you didn’t get the final results you wanted, how would you assess your performance in the District 2 tournaments?
A: I’m still really proud of myself for getting silver out of almost 40 girls who are competing to get a medal. But, it also gave me an opportunity to play doubles with my partner, Bella Scappaticci, who … she’s improved greatly. We competed well against some seasoned doubles teams. It was the first time I’ve played an actual doubles match in high school.
Q: What was the learning curve like? Did you ever get any chances, even just fooling around in practice, to try it?
A: It’s very different to work together, and I’m usually just playing by myself. It took a lot of time to learn to adjust to having another person on the court. Before districts, about a week, we just practiced doubles every single day.
Q: You had a lot of success your first two years, winning district titles. Does coming up a little short this season motivate you any more for next year?
A: I feel like this will push me much more into wanting to go back to states next year. It’s just a very big motivation step just to try to get me back next year and get gold again.
Q: You’ll be part of a great senior class in the WVC with players like Holy Redeemer’s Camryn Cassetori and Wyoming Seminary’s Nicole Joanlanne. What does it mean to be part of such a competitive group?
A: It’s amazing to compete with them; they’re very good. This class, they’re all just really good.
Q: Did you learn anything from facing Karissa Ghigiarelli in the final that you can apply going forward?
A: She’s a really aggressive player, and I think that just taught me to just be more aggressive with my shots and stay on offense.
Q: Do you think you’ll approach next season any differently as a senior, or are you too competitive?
A: I think I’ll still go in with the same amount of courage and just do the same thing I did this year. Go into every match giving 110 percent.
Q: How much would you say you improved this year, or even going back to when you were a freshman?
A: From when I started, my serve wasn’t as good as where it is now. I just put in a lot of work to get that to where it is today, and I’m proud of myself for putting in the work. All my other shots, making them stronger and also making my mental approach much stronger and having more confidence.
Q: Have you put any thought into college — are you hoping to play at the next level?
A: I’m hoping to play Division I somewhere. Hopefully, within two hours. I’m thinking about (studying) education. That would probably be my first choice.
Q: Would coaching ever be something you’re interested in?
A: I’m definitely interested in coaching. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to coach Wyoming Area and give some tennis lessons because this is really a passion of mine.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-821-2089; @CVPiccotti on Twitter