Familiarity with opponents can be a dangerous thing. Just ask Pleasant Valley's Vince Vuolo.
Voulo, Pleasant Valley's No. 1 singles player, and teammate Jon White, were both ousted from the District 11 Class AAA Tennis Tournament Thursday afternoon.
Vuolo had the tough task of facing off in the first round against an opponent he has seen far too often throughout the course of the season in Pocono Mountain East's Maxwell Kenny. After two grueling sets and a super tiebreaker to decide the match, it was the Cardinal moving on to the next round while the Pleasant Valley veteran was ousted.
"That's the difference in this sport and the game of tennis," Pleasant Valley head coach Mark Allison said afterwards. "A few points here and there and it would be a totally different outcome."
The senior looked forward to the intense match-up against Kenny before the match as the two had met twice this season, with each of them winning one of the matches. Vuolo prevailed in the first matchup between the pair as he led 2-0 in the third set before Kenny withdrew for medical reasons. In the second meeting, Kenny took that match thanks to a 7-6 third set victory. Their head-to-head record showed how close the two actually are and this one remained true to form.
Vuolo had two chances to serve out the first set, before Kenny pushed him to a tiebreaker. After the PV number one went up 4-1 in the tiebreak, Kenny came back to trail 4-3, before Vuolo won the next three points to take the early lead.
After Kenny took the second set 6-4, the ten-point tiebreak (win by two) stood in the players' way of moving on to the second round. That tiebreak was tied three times before Kenny pulled ahead 9-5, giving him three match points. Vuolo, showing the fighter he is, came back to trail 9-8, before the junior hit a volley that was just out of the Bear's reach for the win.
White, a freshman, managed to win his first round match and move into the second round. However, looming in the draw was the tournament's No. 6 seed, Bangor's Ryan Learn, who ended White's individual season in straight sets.
White (16-1), who played No. 2 singles for the Bears this season, had an equally intense first round match. He drew Nazareth senior Steve Fischler, a left-hander who compiled an 8-7 record this season at No. 1 singles.
In the third game of the match, White had a great return and was followed by two straight double faults by Fischler for a 0-40 hole (triple break point) for the local. White continued to pick on Fischler's forehand side and after the service break, he picked up the aggression, winning four of the next five games for a 6-2 first set win.
However, the first three games of the second set saw how tough Fischler was, as he mounted an insurmountable 3-0 lead. White held and broke back to 2-3, only to see Fischler return the favor and win the second set, 6-2.
White got a lead in the decisive super tiebreak and proved to be too good of a front-runner, eventually pulling out a 10-5 win to move on to the second round.
In the second round against Learn, who was 15-2 at No. 1 singles for Bangor, White suffered a deceiving 6-2, 6-2 loss..
"Learn is a very solid player and I've seen him over the past four years at Bangor," Allison said. "It was a quality match and I think it's one of those cases where the score doesn't indicate how close the match really was. But I think Ryan's experience definitely helped him to beat Jon."
Overall, the Pleasant Valley head coach has plenty to be proud of in his two player's performances in the tourney.
"I'm really proud of both players' efforts today," he said. "They both played hard and fought well."