Worth the ride: Chucks tennis downs Bradford

BRADFORD — Despite having to shake off the after-effects of a long ride to Bradford, the Chucks tennis team earned a convincing 8-1 victory over the Bradford Owls Tuesday afternoon.

"It was a nice little win, a nice trip to Bradford," Punxsy head coach Todd Heigley said after the match. "The big thing today was just the ride. You're in the van for so long, and you have about 20 minutes when you get there to get ready. We looked a little sluggish to start, but once we got warmed up and started making a few shots, I really thought we played OK."

The Chucks earned a five-match sweep in the singles department to start the afternoon on the right note.

No. 1 singles player Mike Blose dropped to 1-4 in the opening set but battled back for a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Bradford's Cody Bly.

At No. 2 singles, Punxsy's Tim Pearce defeated Connor Nickel, 6-2, 6-1.

In No. 3 singles, Eddie Serafin returned from a one-match absence to pick up a closely-contested 7-5, 6-3 victory over R.J. Jordan.

Heigley said that while Punxsy seemed to dominate on the scoreboard, Bradford — a young squad — gave the Chucks a run for their money.

"In general, I think Bradford's a young team and kind of inexperienced," Heigley said. "But they were very competitive. I give them credit. Mike was down 1-4 in his first set, and Eddie was trailing in one of his sets. So those guys battled. They were kind of a feisty, competitive young group."

Punxsy's greatest challenge in the singles matches came during No. 4 singles, where Nick Roberts won the first set against Josh Mongillo 6-1, but dropped the second 2-6 to force a tie-breaker.

Roberts battled back to win the tie-breaker 10-6, though, and keep Punxsy's unbeaten streak alive.

Ryan States rounded out the singles at No. 5 with a convincing 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kyle Frommbach.

"We answered their competitive nature by playing pretty well against them," Heigley said. "Singles-wise, we didn't get shaken a whole lot, and even in Nick's match, he came back to win the tie-breaker. Hopefully, we can build some confidence off this match."

In doubles, Punxsy's top pair of Blose and Pearce continued to roll, defeating their respective singles foes, Bly and Nickel, 8-3.

At No. 2 doubles, Serafin and Roberts blanked their singles opponents, Jordan and Mongillo, 8-0.

States and Joe Roberts kept the good times rolling for the Chucks with an 8-4 victory over Frommbach and Austin Greek, and Punxsy's only loss came at No. 4 doubles, where Pat Hollenbeck and Tyler Stratus earned an 8-3 win over C.J. Seitz and Justin Ray.

"Doubles-wise, both our two top pairings did a very nice job," Heigley said. "Joe and Ryan, I've been flip-flopping a lot, so they haven't had much opportunity to gain cohesiveness, but they played well, too. C.J. and Justin led 2-1 in their match. So, things are starting to come along, and we just can't move backwards Thursday against Brockway."

The Chucks next contest is that meet Thursday, and although Brockway's been a team which has struggled over the past few years, Heigley said they're much-improved this season, and his squad needs to be well prepared.

"The Bradford match was a nice win," he said. "We needed it with Brockway coming up. The past few years, they've been one of the teams that everyone has preyed upon, but they're having a very nice year. We have to get mentally prepared for them."