Brianna Pizzano fought through pain and a talented crop of Wyoming Valley Conference tennis players to end her high school career on a high note.
After suffering a significant wrist injury during the summer, the senior routinely faced some of the league’s top players in the regular season and led her squad to seven victories. She eventually advanced to the District 2 championship in both Class 2A singles and doubles (with partner Bella Scappaticci) as the No. 2 and 1 overall seed, respectively.
The 18-year-old’s final haul over four seasons includes two district singles titles and six total finals appearances. And, for the fourth and final time, she is The Citizens’ Voice Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
“At the end of district singles, it really started to sink in,” Pizzano said of playing her final high school matches. “It’s bittersweet because I’m going to miss playing with some of my best friends. But, I’m looking forward to new challenges in college.”
The Exeter native isn’t done competing for the Warriors, as she expects to complete her rehab over the winter and return just in time for softball season. First, however, she spoke to the CV about some of her favorite memories on the tennis court and what her future may hold.
Q: Was this the toughest of your four seasons because of the injury?
A: Yeah, it was pretty painful to play most of the time. I was just determined to finish up my high school season without missing any matches. With my mom (Tiffany) taping up my wrist and my coaches’ support, I was able to get through them.
Q: What happened exactly?
A: I tore my TFCC and UT ligaments. I was doing this drill with a bunch of my friends, and I heard a pop and knew something was wrong. It was around the beginning of June. I just kept icing it and telling myself it’s OK if I lose a couple games in my matches. Taping it was the main thing that helped me.
Q: How did you feel at the start of the season?
A: Right around the first couple matches, I started to realize I was OK. Facing players like (Holy Redeemer’s) Tea Amerise and (Wyoming Seminary’s Ella Krypel), I was worried and I didn’t have any problems. I just played how I usually played.
Q: What did it mean to reach two more finals given the added difficulty?
A: I was really happy I got to play doubles for the second year in a row. It’s always fun to play with a teammate, especially Bella because we work so well together. Our final match, I was proud of it because we worked so well.
Q: Did you even think when you started as a freshman you’d have all the successes you did?
A: No, not at all. I didn’t know what to expect at all (as a freshman). Just to win districts twice out of all those people, it blows my mind.
Q: Is there any single accomplishment from your tenure at Wyoming Area that you’re most proud of?
A: I’m really proud of winning districts my freshman year because I didn’t know what to expect. Playing high schoolers was intimidating for me and I didn’t know what to expect.
Q: Who were some of the toughest opponents you’ll remember facing?
A: Tea and Camryn Cassetori from Redeemer, Ella from Sem, Karissa (Ghigiarelli of Riverside) and Stephanie Mazurek (of Hazleton Area). Those were the toughest. Especially going into those matches, you never knew what to expect because they were so hungry to win. You couldn’t be cocky and overconfident.
Q: Is there anyone you’d like to shout out for their help this season and along the way?
A: My mom for taking care of my wrist, my dad (Steve) was an assistant coach so he helped me a lot. Coach (Bill) Roberts has always been there for me and the whole team. My first coach, Tiffany Callaio, has played a big part in my career. Also, my grandma for coming to every single one of my matches all four years.
Q: Obviously, you’ll have softball in the spring. Do you have any post-high school plans yet?
A: I hope to play college tennis and I hope to study speech pathology, too. I’m looking at all divisions and all have expressed interest.
Q: Is there anything that drew you to speech pathology?
A: I had a hearing loss when i was younger and still kind of do. Sometimes, (speech pathologists) specialize in audiology. I feel like it would make a difference. Working with little kids, it would make me feel really good.
Q: What do you hope is your ultimate legacy with Wyoming Area tennis?
A: I hope I increased the popularity of the sport and made the program bigger and better. I hope to be a coach someday when I’m older. I want to try to keep building up the program in the future, hopefully.
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