Lux grabs third place
NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe's Sam Lux extends to volley the ball over the net during Monday's District 11 Class AA Tennis Tournament.
ALLENTOWN - Sam Lux was exactly where he wanted to be on the first Monday in May - give or take 20 yards.
The Jim Thorpe senior was playing in the District 11 Class AA Tennis Tournament at West End Racquet and Fitness Center. But instead of playing for the district title and a berth in the state tournament, Lux had to settle for a berth in the consolation match.
One court removed from the television cameras and the big crowd following the gold medal match, Lux was determined to make the most of his bronze medal showdown against Wilson's Mike Nester.
Lux did exactly that, rolling to a 6-2, 6-4 victory and a third place finish in the district.
"This is a little bittersweet," said Lux. "I really wanted to be on the court right across from this one. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way for me.
"But on the way down here I promised myself that I was going to block out any disappointment I had after losing on Saturday and play as hard and as well as I could."
Lux kept that promise and did it impressively. He never lost a game on his serve and broke Nester several times, including an all-important game with the score tied at 4-4 in the second set.
"I served the ball really well today," said Lux. "I don't think he broke me all day and although he returned most of my first serves, I was able put him on the defensive right away and was able to capitalize for some quick points."
Jim Thorpe coach Norb Lienhard called Lux's performance "outstanding."
"Sam did a great job of focusing and taking care of business," Lienhard said. "You could see from the opening point that he was ready to play. He served well and did a nice job of going to the net and keeping the pressure on."
After breezing in the first set, Lux found himself trailing 4-3 in the second set. But he was determined not to let Nester extend the match.
He surrendered just one point on his serve to tie the score at 4-4. He followed that with his biggest break of the match, jumping ahead 40-0 before eventually finishing it out. Serving for the match, Lux took no prisoners as he reeled off four straight points - the final one coming on an ace.
"Both my quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Saturday went three sets," said Lux. "When it was 4-3 in the second set, I told myself that I needed to turn it up a notch right there.
"I didn't want this going to a third set. I wanted to take care of business and finish off the sweep."
Lux got a little extra push to help him accomplish that.
"The rest of our tennis team came to watch me," said Lux. "That support meant a lot. To hear everyone cheering when I won a point was a big lift.
"It helped me build momentum, especially at the end of the second set when I was trailing. I really appreciated the fact that they were all their supporting me. It definitely made a difference."
Allentown Central Catholic's Libario Obeid defeated Eric Michaelis of Moravian Academy, 6-4, 6-4 to capture the Class AA title. In Class AAA, Southern Lehigh's Eric Perez beat Akshay Damany of Emmaus, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Obeid and Perez are the only players who beat Lux (16-3) this season with Obeid doing it twice, once in the regular season and again in Saturday's semifinals.
"Sam had a great year," said Lienhard. "He had a lot of pressure on him because everyone expected him to be good and he lived up to those expectations. There is no shame in losing to the kids he did this year. I know he was a little disappointed not making it to the finals, but he should be very proud of what he accomplished."