After two seasons full of injuries, things are falling into place for Sam Sauter, a graduate of Sewickley Academy and St. Joseph’s junior male tennis player.
Sauter, 20, and his doubles partner led the Hawks in the season opener Villanova Invitational, reaching the Wildcat Draw final.
In the St. Joseph’s Invitational a week later, Sauter reached the semi-finals in the fourth singles steal, where he lost to future champion Villanova, 6-2, 6-2.
Sauter won two games to reach the semi-finals, including a 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 decision over a Hartford player.
St. Joseph coach Ian Crookenden said things were starting to gel for Sauter. He expects him to compete for a doubles spot because of his height (6ft 3in) and strength.
“He’s looking to be a good adult player,” said Crookenden.
Sauter hopes to be part of the contingent that will travel to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional tournament Oct. 17-22 in Virginia.
Regional champions and finalists will advance to the Oracle ITA National Championships November 6-10 in California.
Sauter, who grew up in Presto, broke his foot in freshman and then got injured again last season.
He finished last season with an overall record of 2-8 in singles and 4-7 in doubles. The Hawks, who are based in Philadelphia, were 6-16.
He is grateful to be in good health.
“I really enjoy it more – I love tennis more – than I’ve ever done,” said Sauter, a three-time PIAA Class AA singles tournament qualifier that helped Sewickley Academy win two titles. PIAA. “The good came out of the wound. ”
Crookenden said that Sauter was someone who wanted him so much that he overthought things. He said that Sauter, who studies computer science, is a big kid.
Sauter, whose mother, Missie Berteotti, played 14 years on the LPGA tour, devoted time to the mental part of the game.
He reads books and watches tapes that Crookenden gives him on the subject.
“I think I’m going to do some really, really good things,” Sauter said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributor.