Lehighton downs Tamaqua
ron gower/times news Lehighton's Nick Mantz sets his feet for a backhand shot. Mantz posted a three set victory against Tamaqua.
Tamaqua's Gonzalo Hernandez Cascante continued his domination.
But thanks to Nick Mantz's determination and a major female donation, Lehighton was able to post a 5-2 non-league tennis victory over the Raiders on Thursday.
Hernandez Cascante proved his unbeaten record was no fluke as he won his singles match without surrendering a game. He followed that up by teaming with Joe Binder for a doubles victory.
But in between Hernandez Cascante's bookend wins, it was all Lehighton.
"This was a good win for us," said Indian coach Dave Sherry. "I thought this would be a very competitive match that could go either way. We got a clutch performance from Nick Mantz at No. 2 singles and then our girls really stepped up in doubles play.
"I thought Nick's match was the turning point. It went three sets and if he loses that, the momentum changes and we might not win this. I was also very happy with the performances we got from the three girls in our lineup. They combined to get us two doubles victories."
Mantz's win came after the teams had split the first two singles matches. He defeated Tamaqua's Evan Stoll 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
"I played really well the first set, but then he came back to beat me and even the match," said Mantz. "At that point, I knew I had to step up. I had to play a little more consistent, have a little more focus, and show a lot of determination.
"I knew that if I pulled out the win, we would have a pretty good chance of winning the match and that's what happened."
Lehighton sealed the victory by getting a 6-4, 6-2 victory by twin sisters Deb and Jess Lobien at No. 2 doubles and a 6-1, 6-0 victory by Steph Slaw and Kirk Arner at No. 3 doubles.
"Our girls' players can hold their own against the boys," said Sherry. "All three of them are good players.
"A lot of coaches in the Mountain Valley Conference have told me that if we had a separate team for girls they would be among the best in the league."
The final two matches on the court were split. Lehighton's No. 4 doubles team of Graham Strauss and Peter Phalen posted a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win while Tamaqua took No. 1 doubles as Hernandez Cascante and Binder recorded an 8-2 pro set win.
"We're improving every match," said Tamaqua coach Jennel Yelito. "We lost a couple of close matches today that could have swung the decision the other way. We just have to keep working and getting better.
"We play Lehighton again next week and we'll be using our format and our rules. I'm hoping that gives us a chance to turn this loss around."
Lehighton improves to 2-4 on the season while Tamaqua falls to 1-6.
"The Mountain Valley Conference has some pretty good teams so it's difficult to get league wins," said Mantz. "When we play some of the local teams, we don't treat them as non-league games or exhibitions.
"We know it's a chance to get wins if we play well and wins feel good."
Lehighton 5, Tamaqua 2
Gonzalo Hernandez Cascante (T) def. James Sverchek, 6-0, 6-0; Nick Mantz (L) def. Evan Stoll 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; Justin Ziegenfus (L) def. Joe Binder , 6-4, 6-3.
Hernandez Cascante/Binder (T) def. Sverchek/Ziegenfus, 8-2; Deb Lobien/Jess Lobien (L) def. Matt Hadesty/Jerome Betz, 6-4, 6-2; Steph Slaw/Kirk Arner (L) def. Eric Fiorilla/Colin Johnson, 6-1, 6-0; Graham Strauss/Peter Phalen (L) def. Tyler Kehl/NateLeibensburg, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).