Dutch down Chucks in weather-shortened match

ST. MARYS — The Punxsy boys' tennis team was unable to surmount St. Marys or the weather during the Dutch's 4-2 victory Wednesday at home over the Chucks.

Punxsy (3-4) lost three of five singles matches and dropped the No. 2 doubles match before rain put an end to the final three doubles matches.

St. Marys, the reigning District IX Class AA Team Champion, improved to 6-2 with the victory.

The Chucks' Brandon Bish and Dave Roberts were set to compete against Keith Myer and Dylan Wiesner in the No. 1 doubles match when strong downpours arrived. Neither tandem was able to get off a serve when the match was called due to weather.

The No. 3 and 4 doubles matches ended prematurely. St. Marys' Michael Brennan and Dalton Gennocro led Nick Roberts and Eddie Serafin, 7-4, when the rain arrived. The match was at deuce, meaning the St. Marys duo was two points away from clinching an 8-4 victory.

In the No. 4 doubles match, Punxsy's Matt Weaver and Joe Roberts were tied at six with Eric Uhl and Nick Keller when the rain ended the event.

To make the match go quicker, all five singles matches were played to 10 games as a pro set rather than best-of-three sets to six points apiece.

Bish, Punxsy's No. 3 player, and Tim Pearce, the No. 5, earned Punxsy's only victories. Bish lost the first game, but came back with eight-straight game victories before he defeated Brandon Orr, 10-4.

"Hopefully, Brandon's confidence is up, and that's a good thing," Heigley said.

Pearce led 5-1 before he fell behind late in his match against Evan Lepovetsky. Pearce, however, held on for a 10-7 victory.

"He lost a little focus after getting a big lead," Heigley said. "Then, he came back and played tennis like he knows how."

It took some time for Punxsy to adjust to the clay courts in St. Marys. Making things worse was the rain that began to fall, which made for a slippery surface.

"They play and practice on it every day, so that's just a new experience for us to try to play on something like that," Heigley said, citing that Punxsy hadn't played on the clay courts in two years before Wednesday. "You get some really goofy bounces when you get spin on the ball."

What helped Bish and Pearce collect Punxsy's wins is the fact that neither put much spin on the ball, Heigley said.

"Brandon has a flat shot, so his shots weren't really affected," he said. "Tim played with a little bit of a cut ... so he got more grip on it."

In the No. 1 doubles match, Myer bested Dave Roberts, 10-4. Myer was behind 3-2 at one point. Wiesner also defeated Mike Blose, 10-2, and Michael Fox knocked off Adam Murdock, 10-5.

"For singles, I knew their top couple guys were coming back," Heigley said. "Dave battled for a while, and even Michael did some things that were good."

Heigley said that Blose, who was playing above No. 4 singles for the first time ever, sometimes played defensive tennis at the No. 4 slot in the past. But that wasn't enough against Wiesner, who is a past District IX Class AA doubles champion.

"I think that hurt him a lot today," Heigley said about Blose. "Dylan knows where to place the ball."

In the only doubles match that was completed, Orr and Fox knocked off Jacob Palaschak and Anthony Pascuzzo, 8-6. Heigley still liked what he saw out of Punxsy's senior duo.

"They continue to impress me, and they seem to be working pretty well together," he said.

The Chucks will return home for their second match in Punxsutawney this season at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Johnsonburg. Punxsy will then host DuBois Central Catholic Monday, DuBois Tuesday, Bradford Wednesday and Brockway Thursday.

The match against Bradford commences the District IX Class AAA Team Tournament.