Punxsy's Roberts, Murdock unable to win singles title

DUBOIS — Punxsutawney was denied an individual title for the fourth consecutive year, as seniors Dave Roberts and Adam Murdock fell short in the District IX Class AAA Boys' Tennis Singles Tournament Monday in DuBois.

Both Roberts and Murdock were eliminated by a DuBois player, as the Beavers' duo of Palmer Casteel and Trey Gilmore advanced to the final. Casteel, DuBois' No. 2 player, ultimately won the championship by the scores of 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.

Roberts, Punxsy's No. 1 player, reached the semifinals after he dominated Clearfield's Ryan Butler in the first round. He then lost to Casteel in straight sets.

Murdock was defeated by Gilmore in the first round before Gilmore downed Clearfield's Ian Bookhammer in the second round.

A lack of aggressiveness cost the Chucks, Punxsy head coach Todd Heigley said.

"The biggest thing was that we weren't aggressive in times," he said "We needed to be, and it kind of hurt us in the end."

Roberts ran right through Butler in the first round, 6-0, 6-0.

"His first game, he was really on. He was pretty much error free," Heigley said. "I should have told him to save a few for the next game."

In the semifinals, Roberts couldn't keep that momentum up. Casteel, who plays more of a defensive game, began to frustrate Roberts during a 6-0, 6-3 win.

"Credit Casteel. He's probably one of the better defensive tennis players I've seen in a long time," Heigley said. "He puts the ball in play, doesn't hit the shots out and runs stuff down. It's frustrating for an offensive opponent to build any momentum."

Heigley said that Roberts missed a number of opportunities that could have swayed the match in his favor.

"He battled. The first set, he just couldn't get anything going," Heigley said. "I thought Dave could take advantage of Casteel's serves, since it's not really a hard serve."

Murdock, who was facing DuBois' No. 1 player, Gilmore, in the first round, lost 6-4, 6-1. Murdock was ahead or tied during the first set until it was 4-3 in his first favor. Gilmore then won nine of the match's next 10 points.

"For as well as he played the first set, he played the complete opposite the second," Heigley said. "We had a game plan to frustrate Gilmore as much as he could by varying his shots and depths. It seemed like every time he tried to build momentum, he couldn't do it."

Roberts, Murdock and five other Chucks will have an opportunity to get revenge on DuBois just two days later, as the Chucks and Beavers will face off in the District IX Class AAA Team Tournament Finals at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in DuBois.

Punxsy's lineup will consist of Roberts, Brandon Bish and Murdock at singles and Tim Pearce/Mike Blose and Jacob Palaschak/Anthony Pascuzzo in doubles.

Roberts and the two doubles teams won during the Chucks' 3-2 victory over Bradford in the team semifinals last Wednesday.

"I think our doubles can match up pretty well with their doubles," Heigley said. "It's just a matter of how our singles do."