Bears bow out in doubles
Pleasant Valley's Joe Osinski (left) returns the ball as teammate Vince Voulo waits at the net. The Bears' doubles team dropped a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 decision in the opening round of the District 11 Class AAA doubles tournament on Friday.
ALLENTOWN - It started off as a landmark day for Pleasant Valley's tennis team, but ended with disappointment. The Bears were only one of two schools to have three doubles teams represented at the District 11 AAA doubles tournament, but none of the pairs made it to the second round of action at West End Racquet and Fitness Club.
The pairing of Joe Osinski and Vince Voulo looked like they were on their way to meet Southern Lehigh's tandem of Brendan Ferraro and Michael DiSanto in the second round, but couldn't close the door in the second set against Emmaus' Steven Reyes and Rowan Hobson.
The Bears duo won the first set 6-3 and had 5-2 advantage in the second set, but the Emmaus pair came back for a 7-5 victory.
That helped catapult the Hornets to a 6-3 win in the third set to leave head coach Mark Allison with a bitter-sweet taste in his mouth.
"It would have been nice to see those guys advance," said Allison in reference to his top singles players during the regular season, "But they just couldn't put it away. When you're up on a team like that, you know they're going to scramble and that's what Emmaus did.
"We fought hard, but you have to give credit to Emmaus."
Despite the rough end to a sunny day on the courts on Friday, Allison was proud to join Parkland as the only schools in competition to have three teams. It marks the first time in Allison's 15 years at the helm of the program that Pleasant Valley was able to have such a strong contingent.
The duo of Andrew Russo and Justin Kemmerer lost to Pocono Mountain West's Collin Strunk and Weston Strubert 7-5, 6-3, while the sixth seeded pair of Jonathan Walmach and Bryan Baumgartner fell to Parkland aces Bret Lesavoy and Taha Kermalli 6-0, 6-1.
"I think Andrew and Justin started out strong, but tried to force the issue in their match," Allison said. "That was also Pocono Mountain's top doubles team and they did a good job.
"And there's a reason Parkland is undefeated. Everyone they have is good, but our guys competed and got some valuable experience."
Allison hopes that this trek to district doubles can pay dividends in the future for the program.
"We want to compete as well as we can and I thought we did that today," he said. "The results may have not been what we were looking for, but we're showing progress as a program and that's all I can really ask for."