A trio of local tennis players won their first contest and advanced to the second round, but only one of them advanced into the second day (Saturday) of play at the District 11 Class AA Tennis Tournament Friday held at the West End Racquetball Club in Allentown.
Defending District AA champion Henry Paiste of Northwestern may be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He is the second seed in the tournament, behind Central Catholic's Libario Obeid, who won the district title in 2010. Northwestern does not have a team, but Paiste said that he uses the matches he plays at the USTA (United States Tennis Association), as vital playing experience for these types of big tournaments.
"I don't really look at the seedings, I just want to come out and play well and to defend my title here," said Paiste. "I still have three or four matches to play so it's hard to look there yet. I look forward to each match one at a time."
Paiste took care of business rather easily in the first round. He defeated Dan Schoenborn of Central Catholic in straight sets 6-0, 6-1.
"I know Dan pretty well, we're pretty close friends," noted Paiste. "It helps sometimes playing an honest person that you know. I just took the offensive and ran towards the net every single time, so he was constantly running corner to corner and not getting to the balls that well."
The quick first round match may have helped keep Paiste fresh for the next round that day. He was well rested and came out and defeated Notre Dame-Green Pond's Giovanni Mowrey by a score of 6-0, 6-0. Paiste will now square off against Central Catholic's Phat Le in Saturday's quarterfinal.
Palmerton was a school well represented. The Blue Bombers had two players qualify including Spencer Shigo and Tyler Snyder.
Shigo reached the second round after defeating Jarrett Person of Pen Argyl 6-4, 6-0. A morale boosting loss to Madhav Valla of Moravian Academy in that second round (6-4, 6-0), gave Shigo some great experience when he competes in the districts doubles next weekend, and looking into his senior season next year.
"It felt great with this being my first experience at districts," said Shigo. Palmerton hasn't always been known for tennis, but it was nice to get out of the first round. Winning a couple of games against a great program like Moravian Academy felt nice."
Shigo's teammate, Snyder, didn't have as much luck. Snyder lost a very competitive first game 7-6, and seemed to lose a lot of energy, losing the next game 6-2 in his first round exit at the hands of Notre Dame East Stroudsburg's Will Worthington.
Another local team that had a nice showing was Jim Thorpe. Corey Ligenza won his first round match 6-0, 6-2 against Saucon Valley's Nathaniel Schriffert.
"It felt amazing to get a district win, probably the biggest morale booster ever," said Ligenza. "I placed the ball well and rushed the net a lot. My main goal is to gain this experience and be a seeded player for my senior season next year."
A solid win like that in districts will go a long way for Ligenza. He, however, dropped the next match to Mike Antonis of Notre Dame G.P. 6-2, 6-0 in the second round.
In other first round action, Joe Binder of Tamaqua lost to Adam Bear of Blue Mountain 6-1, 6-1, and Lehighton's James Svercheck was defeated by Moravian Academy's Madhav Sekar 6-0, 6-0.