Lehighton gains first win
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Seth Andress of Palmerton follows through on a forehand shot during tennis action Tuesday.
In yesterday's non-league tennis match between Palmerton and Lehighton, it was safe to say that both sides' coaches were going to be content, despite the outcome.
With the weather wreaking havoc on the 2014 Spring sports season thus far, both the Indians' Dave Sherry and the Blue Bombers' Alex Knoll were just happy about having their teams be able to play outdoors, on a court.
The Tribe eventually pulled out a 5-2 decision over the Bombers, riding the strength of their equality throughout their lineup. With the win, they improve to 1-1 on the short season.
"It's nice, because all of my kids are in, or near, the same area of play," Sherry said. "Our doubles players lose to the singles players, 6-4 and 6-3, so there isn't a vast difference between them in terms of ability. From the top to the bottom of the lineup, there isn't much of a drop in skill. That's what is going to make us a tough opponent."
With the parity throughout the lineup, teams may take their lumps against opponents' top players. But eventually, other teams will have that huge difference in skill and the evenly-skilled teams, like the Indians, will be able to pick up wins at the bottom, such as the doubles matches.
Against the Blue Bombers, the Tribe's ace, Tegan Durishin, had his hands full against Palmerton's Rich Roselli, as the two battled in three sets of hard-fought tennis action. The rallies lasted more than 10 strokes pretty frequently, as both players would eventually travel into the net. Eventually, it was Durishin's consistency that would outlast Roselli to pick up that crucial first singles victory.
At the second position, Palmerton's Seth Andress and his opponent, Peter Phelan, battled evenly in the first set and it resulted in a tiebreaker. Andress, however, outlasted Phelan for a 7-5 win in the 'overtime' to earn the pivotal first set, before cruising in the second set for the decision.
The Indians' Spence David swept through Jacob Brown, 6-2, 6-0, to earn the team's second singles win and provide momentum going into the doubles matches.
In doubles, the tandems of Chris Windbeck and Josh Knappenberger, along with Emily Cerimele and Andrea Schafer, maneuvered through for two more straight-set wins. That provided Lehighton with the deciding wins for the overall team victory.
The Palmerton duo of Brown and Andress teamed up to defeat Michael Perkins and Kurt Heiteck at number one doubles, giving their squad their other point for the 5-2 outcome.
A forfeit at number four doubles by the Bombers produced the 5-2 decision that moved Lehighton to .500 on the season.
Sherry was happy with the day overall, but was impressed with the way his team performed.
"The kids have had two legitimate practices outdoors and had a tough match against (Pocono Mountain) East yesterday," said Sherry. "Today, we proved to be stronger at the bottom of our lineup, which proved to be the difference. But (Palmerton's) number one and number two guys are playing tough and are nice players all around."
Like most teams throughout the area, Palmerton's tennis team has been holding practices indoors in a gymnasium, which makes things difficult for any tennis team to adjust to, when it comes time to transition to an actual court. Palmerton head coach Alex Knoll was just happy to get his players time on a court.
"This is our first day outside this year and it's just great to get the kids outside and on the courts," said Knoll. "The team is going to be a work-in-progress this year, but the kids are working extremely hard and want to improve. We're just going to try and get better each and every match.
"I thought today, the match went fine. The kids gave 100 percent effort out there. I know some of them are disappointed in their performance, but we're going to take this and look at the positives and move on from there."
First up on the list, naturally, is getting Mother Nature to cooperate.
Lehighton 5, Palmerton 2
Tegan Durishin (L) def. Rich Roselli 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Seth Andress (P) def. Peter Phelan 7-6 (7-5), 6-1; Spence David (L) def. Jacob Brown 6-2, 6-0.
Jacob Brown/Seth Andress (P) def. Michael Perkins/Kurt Heiteck 8-5 (pro set); Chris Windbeck/Josh Knappenberger (L) def. Alex Hummel/Collin Green 6-0, 6-0; Emily Cerimele/Andrea Schafer (L) def. Kristen Ahner/Ryan Roberts 6-0, 6-1; Thomas Phelan/Allysa Jordan (L) won by forfeit.