Lux, Ligenza move on to quarters
NANCY SCHOLZ/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Zach Ligenza returns a serve as his Jim Thorpe teammate looks on. The duo defeated Becahi to advance to today's quarterfinal round.
SOUTH WHITEHALL - Sam Lux and Zach Ligenza don't play a lot of doubles tennis.
But it didn't show Friday in the first round of the District 11 Class AA doubles tournament at West End Racquestball Club.
The Jim Thorpe seniors disposed of both their opponents in two sets and are headed to today's quarterfinal round.
"This is kind of new," said Lux, a district singles semifinalist and the Olympians No. 1 singles player the past two years. "Doubles is interesting to say the least. It's not what I'm used to, but I can defnitely appreciate doubles. It's a different game than singles. I'm lucky I have a good partner. It makes it a lot easier when you have a good partner."
Lux and Ligenza, the No. 2 seeded pairing in the tournament, won their first round match 6-0, 6-4 over Wilson's Roth Healey and Michael McLaughlin. They beat Bethlehem Catholic's Stephen Rossi and Frank Shi in the second round to advance to the quarterfinals.
They were the only one of six area teams to make it that far and one of just two to win a first-round match. The only other area doubles team to win a match was also from Jim Thorpe. The Olympian pairing of Mitch Franco and Dan Meader beat Pen Argyl's Matt Brumbaugh and Nathaniel Lee, 6-4, 6-0 in the first round before losing 6-4, 6-0 to No. 4 seeded Mike Antonis and Matt Crouse of Notre Dame (Green Pond). Franco and Meader went 10-2 during the regular season playing No. 2 doubles.
Lux and Ligenza are good friends and have been playing tennis together for over eight years. Usually they play on opposite sides of the net. When Lux did not advance to states in singles last week, it allowed him to pair up with his friend and his team's No. 2 singles player, forming a formidable doubles team.
"He called me and said get ready to practice doubles this week," Ligenza said. "I got a little excited. He's been one of my best friends for a long time. It's pretty good chemistry to play together."
They face unseeded Adam Bear and Kevin Riotto of Blue Mountain in a 1 p.m. quartfinal match Saturday.
Four other doubles teams from the area competed in the tournament.
Lehighton's Nick Mantz and Jame Svercheck would have faced Lux and Ligenza in the second round, but they dropped a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 first-round match to Shi and Rossi.
Palmerton's Jimmy Apgar and Devon Frey lost 6-4, 6-0 to Moravian Academy's Michael Boreen and Michael Nester.
Tamaqua's Spencer Bennett and Matt Hadesty lost 6-2, 6-0 to Moravian Academy's Logan Bernard and Jack Dealtry.
Jim Thorpe's Josh Mohn and Oliver Shultz, who went 10-2 as the Olympians top doubles team during the season and drew the No. 8 seed at districts, fell 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Brett Gubitosi and Will Worthington of Notre Dame (East Stroudsburg) in the first round.