CRANBERRY TWP — Reagan Sommariva would have loved to have seen where her game stacked up against other top tennis players last year in the Class 2A Section 3 and WPIAL postseason tournaments, but the Butler resident wasn't given the chance.
Sommariva, now a senior at North Catholic, transferred from Butler after her sophomore year. She went 15-1 as the Trojanettes' top singles player in 2019.
“The WPIAL has a rule that if you transfer, you can't participate in any postseason tournaments the next season,” said North coach Eric Solverson. “It was frustrating because Reagan didn't transfer because of tennis.”
“It was disappointing because I couldn't be there for my team when they needed me the most,” said Sommariva, who is 41-4 in singles play in her varsity career.
She has one season left to leave her mark at North Catholic and Solverson sees all the tools needed to do just that.
“She is a very cerebral player,” he said. “She analyzes her opponents well and adjusts her game better than any girl I've ever coached.
“She knows what she has to do to take advantage of an opponent's weaknesses. She's at another level.”
Sommariva began competing in tournaments when she was still in grade school and puts in much work outside of the high school team. Her effort has led to interest from a number of Division II college programs, including Towson State, John Carroll and Belmont Abbey in North Carolina, among others.
“All of the work I put in is paying off,” said Sommariva, who was ranked 17th in the state last year by the United States Tennis Association. She is poised to move up even higher.
Prior to taking her game to the collegiate level, she wants to make the most of her final season in high school.
“I worked out a lot this offseason,” she said. “I'm a better player now because I'm in better shape. I just want to do my best and be there for my team.”
“Her full-court game is very steady,” Solverson said. “The top three players in the WPIAL qualify for states and I'm anxious to see how she does.”
In practice, Sommariva goes up against North's No. 2 player, sophomore Riley Pylant, which has helped prepare the Mars-area resident for facing elite competition.
“What I've learned from playing against her is to just get the ball back over,” said Pylant. “I don't try to out-hit her because the ball just goes long and I lose the point anyway.”
Pylant competed last year in both the singles and doubles tournaments in Section 3. She is hoping to take big strides this season.
“I took lessons several times per week once some of the restrictions lifted from the quarantine,” said Pylant. “I was nervous to start this season, moving up to No. 2, but I won my first match against Riverside (Tuesday) and now I feel more confident. I just want to keep improving every match.”
Solverson sees a high ceiling for Pylant.
“I see more maturity in Riley this year,” said Solverson. “She's always thinking, 'What do I need to do to win this point?'”