Olympians win consi
nancy Scholz/times news Jim Thorpe's Sam Lux tosses the ball in the air as he prepares to serve against Notre Dame.
ALLENTOWN - Zach Ligenza played in the No. 2 singles slot for the Jim Thorpe boys' tennis team this season.
During the last five days, however, Ligenza was on some unfamiliar ground as he was playing in the District 11 Class AA Doubles Tournament.
It was an adjustment Ligenza and his partner Sam Lux, the Olympians' No. 1 singles player, handled well together. So well in fact that the Jim Thorpe seniors walked away with the bronze medal after knocking off Notre Dame of Green Pond's Matt Crouse and Mike Antonis, 6-3, 6-4 in Monday's consolation match.
"Basically, when I found out that Sam and I were going to be doubles' partners, I was pretty excited," Ligenza said. "We actually did have to build into it because we're singles' players. We're not very good at doubles.
"But I think we did well for not really playing doubles at all. After a little bit of practice, we managed to pull through with a third place finish."
Lux, who added another bronze to his medal collection after finishing third last week in the Disitrict Singles Tournament, was quick to say that his classmate may have played his finest tennis yesterday afternoon inside of the West End Racquet and Fitness Club.
"Zach played one of the best matches he has played all year," Lux said. "I couldn't have asked more of him. He played some of the best tennis I've seen from anybody on our team this year. It was good having him as my partner today."
While Lux has received plenty of kudos during in his four years as an Olympian starter, Jim Thorpe head coach Norb Leinhard was glad to see Ligenza rise to the occasion after the setback the pair suffered in in the semifinals on Saturday.
"The key I feel was Zach Ligenza," Leinhard said. "He was serving well. He played the net. He stood his ground when those guys were blasting them at him. He was taking care of them. He was the key to this whole match.
"He's normally not a good server. He gets them in, but today he pounded in some of them."
Ligenza was on with his serve. In fact, all four times Ligenza was in charge of serving the ball the Olympians won the game. Meanwhile, Lux missed out on only one of his five service opportunities as Jim Thorpe did an oustanding job of protecting its serve.
Ligenza was happy with his efforts with the serve, but he stressed the issue of how he and Lux attacked the net against the Crusaders' usual No. 1 (Antonis) and No. 2 (Crouse) singles' players.
"I think the key factor was we played a little bit more aggressive on the net," Ligenza said. "I think that really did help a lot because Saturday we didn't play that aggressive. We lost our second match because we were a little weak with that. I think we definitely did a lot better by attacking the net."
The win allowed Ligenza and Lux to bring home the first-ever district doubles medal in the school's history.
"They both deserve this win because they had a rough road here," Leinhard said. "They picked it up after some tough times. They stayed discipline. They stayed focus. They played really good. I'm just so proud of them. This was a great finish."
According to Lux, it was a win that can be shared by a lot of people.
"It's not just Zach and I winning, it was a team win," Lux stressed. "We have a lot of support from our teammates. It means a lot when you have eight or nine kids from the team come down and support you. It makes you feel like you're doing something right. You spend every day after school with these kids.
"So, it feels great when you get a win when you have them here supporting you."
That entire Olympian team will begin its quest for a medal today when Saucon Valley travels to Jim Thorpe for a quarterfinal round match in the District 11 Team Tournament.