PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” The Punxsy boys' tennis team hosted Elk County Catholic on a windy afternoon Thursday in Punxsutawney, and despite battling through several close matches, the Crusaders came out on top, 6-3.
After the match, head coach Todd Heigley's review of the action was simple: "Overall, we competed."
Punxsy was without one of its singles players in the match â€” Eddie Serafin â€” and because of their small numbers this season, the Chucks were forced to forfeit No. 4 doubles.
Heigley said he would like to think with Serafin in the lineup, the match would have been a different story.
"We were down a man today, and that sure didn't help us," he said. "It was frustrating to not have Eddie, and I'm hoping he could have made the difference. We won't push the panic button yet. We'll just keep hammering away."
Without the forced forfeit, the Chucks were only edged 5-3, and Serafin may have made a difference in both the singles and doubles lineups, but Heigley also said that's all part of the game.
One Chuck â€” Michael Blose â€” was a part of two of Punxsy's three points on the afternoon.
In the No. 1 singles contest, Blose dropped the first set, 1-6, to ECC's top singles player, Ben Wortman.
But Blose bounced back to win the second set in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-5), and finished Wortman off with a heated, back-and-forth ultimate tie-breaker, 10-7.
In No. 2 singles, Tim Pearce lost a tight battle with ECC's Shane Mancuso, 3-6, 4-6, but Pearce was a part of the No. 1 doubles team, along with Blose, that bounced back to put an 8-0 hurting on ECC's top pair of Mancuso and Wortman.
"It's nice to see Mike pick up a singles win, and then a double's win with Timmy," Heigley said. "I think that'll do wonders with their confidence."
With the regular season progressing and the postseason growing closer and closer, Heigley said it was also good to see his top doubles team â€” defending District IX champions â€”Â coming into form.
"With their doubles, you can start to see them coming into the form they had at the end of the season last year," Heigley said. "So, it'll be well worth the lumps once districts and things like that start."
Punxsy's other point came at No. 4 singles, where Ryan States bumped up to play a spot ahead of where he usually would with Serafin being out and picked up a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Scott Reichard.
"Ryan, I thought, came out of the gates pretty sharp," he said. "And once the other kid got warmed up, they really traded some stuff back and forth, but it was good to see Ryan get the win. Maybe that'll help his confidence, too."
At No. 3 singles, ECC's Drew Meyer worked the court well to pick up a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Punxsy's Nick Roberts.
States and Roberts teamed up at No. 2 doubles, as well, but fell to Scott Krellner and Alex Herzing, 4-8.
At No. 5 singles, Punxsy's C.J. Seitz battled with a number of long volleys but ultimately fell 3-6, 1-6 to ECC's Aaron Meyer.
In the final contested match, Joe Roberts and Justin Ray showed signs of improvement in a 2-8 loss to ECC's Austin Minard and Cole Gerber.
"Justin and Joe got a few games," Heigley said. "It's tough, but they're young and inexperienced. You have to get clicking on all cylinders. As soon as we do, hopefully, the wins will start to rack up."
Heigley said that, in the action he saw, one thing the Chucks still need to work on is their aggressiveness.
"We still need to be more assertive and stop playing so defensively," Heigley said. "We saw what happened when Mike and Tim were aggressive. Now, we need to carry over with that."
The Chucks will have several days off before returning to action with a long road trip to Bradford Tuesday.
"We'll get back at it," Heigley said. "We go to Bradford next week, and hopefully, after going a long way, we come back with a win. It's a long ride home if you don't win."View more articles in: