Area teams fall in D-11 doubles
ALLENTOWN – It was an opportunity Lehighton’s Aaron Miller and Luke Blauch had always hoped they would get, and a chance Jim Thorpe’s Daniel Teets and Connor Rodgers always knew they were ready for.
Predominantly singles players throughout the regular season, the District 11 Class 2A doubles tournament afforded the already accomplished group the opportunity to combine their talents for the first time this spring.
“They’ve been asking me to play doubles all season long,” first-year Indians’ head coach Cody Schuler said of Miller and Blauch. “I was glad to finally be able to give them that opportunity at districts.”
The moment was equally special for Teets and Rodgers, who are both seniors.
“Danny and I have been playing together since freshman year,” said Rodgers. “To finish our high school season together was pretty awesome.
“We’ve known each other since kindergarten, so this is pretty cool,” added Teets.
While both teams fell in the first round on Monday, they more than made their presence felt among the top 16 2A teams at Parkland’s tennis courts.
Though Miller and Blauch fell 6-2, 7-5 to No. 4 seed Matt Nagy and Joseph Andres of Saucon Valley, and Teets and Rodgers lost 6-1, 6-4 to seventh-seed Gavin Andreeko and Evan Gordon of Bangor, both teams found their stride in the second set.
Miller and Blauch took a 2-1 lead and battled back from deficits of 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 to push Nagy and Andres.
“Coming out of the first set, I told them they did a good job, now let’s try to get a couple more games and do a little bit better,” said Schuler. “If they got the set, that would have been fantastic, and they came really close.
“And it was great to see that they were able to expand on what they were able to do in the first set.”
Teets and Rodgers went up 1-0 in the second set and went back-and-forth with Andreeko and Gordon, trailing 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3.
“As first and second singles, we don’t get to play together,” said Rodgers. “But we still have chemistry since we’re both captains and we’re right next to each other on the court.
“We know each other’s playing style quite well, too,” said Teets. “As long as you understand each other and have chemistry together, you can have a strong team.”
Teets, Rodgers and Miller all qualified for the District 11 Class 2A singles tournament a few weeks ago, with Miller advancing to the quarterfinals.
With Miller a junior and Blauch a sophomore, Schuler is excited for what the duo - along with the rest of the program - will be able to accomplish next season.
“They did really well, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next year,” Schuler said. “I think that they’re going to do a lot this summer, and we’re going to have a great team.”
In addition to both Teets and Rodgers also qualifying for the singles bracket, the Olympians also competed in the District 11 team tournament as the seventh seed.
The accomplishments - both individually and as a team - have laid a foundation first-year coach Sam Lux is eager to build on, something Rodgers and Teets have been vital in establishing.
“They’ll definitely be missed,” Lux said of the seniors. “They’re a big presence on the team, not just in terms of skill level but also attitude. I could not ask for a better group of kids; they’ve been great players and tremendous leaders.
“They helped to create a great environment and really inspire a lot of the younger kids that will be back next year, which has been great to see.”
They came together to create one more great memory in an already memorable season on Monday.
… The Class 2A and 3A semifinals and championship finals will be held Wednesday at Parkland.
... The top four seeds in Class 2A all advanced to the semifinals.