Five local teams see title hopes end
NANCY SCHOLZ/Special to the TIMES NEWS Lehighton's Nick Mantz keeps service during District 11 2A Doubles action at West End Racquet Club. Mantz and James Sverchek advanced to the second round before losing.
Day two of the District 11 Doubles Tournament at the West End Racquet Club in Allentown featured AA competition and showcased five TIMES NEWS area teams.
Lehighton, Palmerton, Jim Thorpe, Tamaqua, and Northwestern were all in action on Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately, it happened to be a rough day on the court with every team but one being eliminated from tournament play in the first round.
The duo that did advance into the second round were the pair of Nick Mantz and James Sverchek. The Lehighton natives did the maroon and white proud on Friday breezing through a first round match-up with the always tough Allentown Central Catholic pair of Roberto Santana and Gabriel Velez 6-2, 6-3.
Mantz and Sverchek, who are also the Indians number one and two singles players have been the top two Lehighton tennis players in the program for the last four seasons. A fact that Indians coach Dave Sherry was quick to point out.
"These two have been the foundation of the program since their freshman year," said Sherry. "They are both playing real good tennis right now, but as you can tell there is a lot of good competition here. These two kids are smart too, which is evident in the caliber of schools they're going to after high school (Mantz, United States Naval Academy; Sverchek, University of Utah)."
The two do not play doubles regularly and usually only compete at the number one doubles spot when the match is on the line.
"The biggest thing about playing doubles is worrying about the guy at the net," said Mantz. "Usually you don't have someone hovering around the net like that in singles so it's definitely something you have to get used to."
"You kind of just have to let things flow in doubles," said Sverchek. "It's a lot more fast paced and you really have to be on your toes."
Lehighton matched up with the number four seeded Moravian Academy in the second round and were dropped in straight sets 6-1, 6-3.
The Tamaqua pair of Joe Binder and Christian Gardinger lost in straight sets to Salisbury 7-5, 6-2. Binder, who is the number one singles player for Tamaqua came into the tournament without playing a single doubles match all season.
"I'm definitely new to doubles and you have to have a whole different mentality than you do for singles," said Binder. "Despite the loss I think we played well under the circumstances. I had a good partner I feel we had a solid match."
Northwestern's Curt Lingenfelter and Scott Senin drew the toughest out of all the first round match-ups from the area teams with number three seed Notre Dame Green Pond. The two Tigers were swept in straight sets 6-1, 6-2, but their coach Keith Nagle was proud of their play.
"They went out there and played hard," said nagle. "Notre Dame GP is a seasoned team that has been together for the last couple years. You don't get a high seed like number three in the district if you're not a talented team."
Also losing in the first round on the day were the teams from Jim Thorpe and Palmerton.
The Bombers had two doubles teams in action with the duo of Spencer Shigo and Tyler Snyder losing to Notre Dame East Stroudsburg 6-3, 7-5. The Bombers other doubles team of Kevin Dayton and Ty green were also taken out in straight sets by Wilson 6-4, 6-3.
The Olympians tandem of Dalton Becker and Shane Bleicher were eliminated by Notre Dame of Green Pond in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.