Tennis team heating up at just the right time

JOHNSONBURG — Facing another long ride — this time to Johnsonburg — the Punxsy boys' tennis team had another concern entering Tuesday afternoon's match, as the Rams have had the Chucks' number over the past few seasons, Punxsy head coach Todd Heigley said.

But Punxsy overcame its slump in a big way, sweeping the Rams 9-0 to pick up its second consecutive sweep after a 9-0 victory over DuBois Central Catholic Saturday.

"It was kind of a nice surprise," Heigley said. "Not that I didn't think we had it in us, but we just have a bad history at Johnsonburg, so it's nice to pick up such a convincing win."

Despite a lopsided result, Heigley said Johnsonburg played some very competi-tive matches, and his players had to earn their keep to win their matches.

"The matches were competitive," he said. "They have, like the rest of the district seems to, some guys who are young and inexperienced, or some guys who've been on the back burner, and now it's their time to shine. We had some good competitions, and it was definitely a confidence booster with districts coming up next week."

In the singles, Punxsy didn't just earn its sweep, it also swept all 10 sets, with just one set going to a tie-breaker.

The tie-breaker came in No. 1 singles, where Punxsy's Michael Blose defeated J.P. Allegreto 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to earn Punxsy's first team point.

At No. 2 singles, Tim Pearce kept things rolling for Punxsy with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Johnsonburg's Nathan Martonik.

Eddie Serafin continued Punxsy's dominance on the scoreboard with a 6-1, 6-3 victory in No. 3 singles over Shane Bickford, and Ryan States lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Nate Fields at No. 4 singles.

The singles sweep for the Chucks was completed by Nick Roberts, who handily defeated Johnsonburg's Tommy Imbrogno 6-0, 6-2.

The Chucks were no less impressive in the doubles category, where Blose and Pearce started things off with an 8-3 victory over the Rams' top pair — Allegreto and Martonik.

Roberts and Serafin teamed for Punxsy at No. 2 and defeated Bickford and Fields 8-5.

In another 8-5 contest, this time at No. 3 doubles, States and Justin Ray defeated Imbrogno and Nathan Walters, and Joe Roberts and CJ Seitz wrapped up the overall sweep with an 8-4 victory in No. 4 doubles over Christian Cherry and Jeff Mann.

Heading into the singles and team district events next week — Monday and Wednesday, respectively — the Chucks seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time, but they still have a busy week ahead of them to continue to prove they're prepared to take on the Beavers in the team finals.

"We need to clean up a little bit in a couple areas," Heigley said. "My doubles teams are playing really well together lately, but we just made a few mental errors when we're needing to get to the net. A couple times, we left shots wide open, but those are things we can talk through and hopefully make adjustments on the fly this week, because we don't have any time off before our next two matches."

The Chucks are right back in action today when the host Clearfield in a 3:30 p.m. contest, and Thursday, Punxsy will play on a third consecutive day when it travels to Brockway to take on the Rovers.

"It's a short turnover," Heigley said. "We'll kind of try to enjoy this win, but it's time to get right back to work, too. Overall, I was really pleased, and it was definitely a boost for us after a nice weekend, beating DCC. We played competitively against DuBois (Friday) despite a loss, and we had a good talk at practice Monday about finishing the season strong. We had three games this week, and there's no reason we couldn't go 3-0, I told them. And I thought we got off to a good start with this win."