Area doubles teams eliminated
Jim Thorpe doubles players Tom Smyth (left) and Kyle Lawrence both try get to the ball during their District 11 Class AA Tournament match against Salisbury.
ALLENTOWN Five doubles' teams from the TIMES NEWS coverage area entered the District 11 Class AA Tennis Tournament on Thursday afternoon at the West End Racquet and Fitness Club.
Of that group, Jim Thorpe's James Denny and Mitch Franko, Lehighton's Nick Mantz and James Svercheck and Tamaqua's Gonzalo Hernandez Cascante and Evan Stoll all advanced into the second round.
Unfortunately for the area teams, round two wasn't too kind.
For Hernandez-Cascante and Stoll, who were the tourney's No. 8 seed, Tamaqua head coach Jennel Yelito saw their limited time playing doubles together catch up with them later in the day.
In the first round, the Blue Raiders No. 1 and No. 2 singles' players got the best of Central Catholic's Mike Gordon and Alex Werner for a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
In the second round however, the aggressive play of Wilson's tandem of Roth Healey and Joey Heller stunned Hernandez-Cascante and Stoll 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to move on.
"I think they were playing a bit more aggressively at the net than us," Yelito said. "We had to find a way to answer back, but they weren't really able to do it since that comes simply with playing together a little more. They haven't had a lot of experience playing together as a double team.
"They had fun though, but I think they kind of wished they had developed more of a game strategy which may have helped them advance."
For Franko, it was another hack at the tournament as he paired up with Dan Meader a year ago.
His second experience at the tournament ended in the same manner dropping out after the second round.
Franko, with Denny manning the court with him this time around, handed Saucon Valley's pair of Josh Beedle and Nate Schriffert a setback in straight sets 6-0, 6-1.
But the tournament's No. 7 seed, Moravian Academy's Michael Boreen and Madhav Sekar, made Franko and Denny pay for their mistakes in the second round. The Olympians' No. 1 and No. 3 singles' players gave it their all, but in the end it was the miscues that spoiled their day in a 7-5, 6-4 setback to the Lions' duo.
"That match was a bit streaky," Jim Thorpe coach Norb Lienhard said. "One minute they were playing really good and then the next minute they were making unforced errors. It was those unforced errors that they couldn't keep control of that cost them the match.
"It was a real nice match, competitive match all the way through. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They gave it all they had. They were down and they battled back and made it a very competitive match. I'm happy with how they played."
For the Indians' Svercheck and Mantz, it was a second run at the tournament as they paired up as sophomores last season. Now, as juniors, they were primed to face the brunt of the competition.
After falling out in the first round last season, the Indians' No. 1 and No. 2 singles' players recovered from a slow first set to earn a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Becahi's Kevin Hamilton and Andrew Hoppe.
In the second round, Svercheck and Mantz were eliminated by the tournament's No. 6 seed in Blue Mountain's Adam Bear and Kevin Riotto, the Blue Eagles' No. 1 and No. 2 singles' players.
"Last year, they lost in three sets in the first round," Lehighton coach Dave Sherry said. "They were down a set already in the first round and luckily their experience from a year ago came through to help them this year as they were able to fight back and get the win.
"In end there, they played very good against the No. 6 seed. They were up 4-2 and they just couldn't put a couple of the points together to finish it. But, 6-4, 6-4 is very respectable as far as I'm concerned. . They still have next year coming yet. So, hopefully we will do even a lot better next season."
The Olympians had two other teams entered in the tournament as Kyle Lawrence/Tom Smyth and Shane Bleicher-Otto/Zach Nace were eliminated in the first round. Lawrence and Smyth fell 6-2, 6-2 to Casey Rowland and Alex Young of Salisbury. Bleicher-Otto and Nace fell to Oscar Dudzinski and Brett Gubitosi of Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg, 6-0, 6-0.