BROCKWAY— It was Senior Night at Brockway Area High School this Tuesday, and the Rovers boys tennis team celebrated the occasion the best way they possibly could.
Aided by a big singles win by Brockway’s sole senior Adam Sabatose and a more than solid outing in doubles action, the Rovers put together a worthy parting gift for their victorious senior and defeated the DuBois Beavers by a final of 4-3.
The win was a redemption of sorts for Brockway, as the Rovers dropped their first meeting with the Beavers by the very same score of 4-3. Much like Tuesday’s results, the two teams had split in singles action and won two matches a piece, with the doubles matches acting as the deciding factor on the day.
Back then, DuBois had been the lucky ones, earning victories at No. 2 and 3 doubles to come away with the win.
This time, however, the day belonged to Brockway, as the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 duos each put together solid 8-3 wins to give the Rovers the all important victory on the day.
“It was a good night for us, and for Adam Sabatose, who was our only senior,” Brockway head coach Cynthia Copenhaver said about the day’s events. “DuBois has always been tough. They beat us last time, so our kids stepped it up this time.
“We had a tough match yesterday against Punxsy, and I told the guys, ‘It’s a new day, new beginning,’ and they did extremely well today.”
One of the more hotly contested matches of the day came at No. 2 singles, where Sabatose bested Noah Knarr 7-5 and 6-3.
Sabatose got off to an early start in the first bout, controlling much of the match’s pace to earn the first two points and a 2-0 lead.
However, Knarr fought his way back into contention and capitalized on a couple of wild serves by Sabatose, tying the match at 2-2 before earning a point over the Rover senior to take the lead at 3-2.
Sabatose later tied it back up at 3-3, but a couple of hard returns from Knarr evaded the his racket and resulted in the DuBois netter gaining the lead at 5-3.
With only one point away from victory, the first set seemed all Knarr’s for the taking, and the DuBois sophomore nearly came close to delivering the killing blow to Sabatose.
However, Sabatose battled his way back into contention, asserting more control and patience into both his swing and serve to tie even with Knarr at 5-5 before hitting the go-ahead point to take the first set, 7-5.
Sabatose maintained his momentum into the second set, where he bested Knarr 6-3 to earn the hard-fought victory.
A similar scenario was playing out at No. 1 singles between Joe Hnat and Josh Salada, where the two dished out everything at each other in the longest match of the day.
Hnat and Salada exchanged leads early on in the first set before Hnat got the edge over his Rover competitor to snag the lead at 4-3. Hnat went on to win the first set 6-4 before proceeding to duplicate his efforts in the second set, where after another long-fought battle with Salada, the DuBois senior snagged the 6-3 win to take both the set and the match.
Anthony Esposito enjoyed another solid outing for the Rovers at No. 3 singles, besting Corey Giles 6-1 in the first set and shutting out the DuBois netter 6-0 in the second. DuBois’ Nick Troisi got the best of Weston Hrin in the No. 4 singles match with a pair of 6-0 set victories.
The teams entered doubles action tied 2-2, and it would be here that the day’s events would ultimately be decided.
After the duo of Paul Brittain and Ben Suslow handily defeated Brockway’s Braidon Smith and Nathan Bennett 8-0 at No. 3 doubles, Esposito and Salada stepped up for the Rovers at No. 1 doubles, where they fought Hnat and Zach Jaggi long and hard to earn the 8-3 victory over the Beaver tandem.
With the overall score knotted up at 3-3, it all came down to the bout at No. 2 doubles to act as the day’s tiebreaker, where Giles and Troisi took on Sabatose and Hrin.
Much like their counterparts at No. 1, the No. 2 teams battled in yet another tough match before the Rover duo got the edge over their DuBois competitors and went on to win both the bout and the day for Brockway by a final of 8-3.
Despite coming out on the losing end for the second straight day, DuBois received many solid outings from their netters, with Hnat’s win at No. 1 singles and Troisi’s at No. 4 both serving as highlights for the Beavers’ roster.
As head coach Jenna Kirk notes, the day could have easily belonged to her team, and it is a testament to the competitiveness of either team that the score remained as close as it did.
“The last time we played them, (the final score) was 4-3, so this time it was just flip-flopped,” Kirk said. “The last match could have gone either way, so it was pretty close. I can still see improvement, but obviously Brockway’s also made a lot of improvements as well.
“Both teams played really well today though. Last time we played it was the same score, just with us on top, so both of us improved. But, it’s close every time we play them, so it was a good match by both teams.”
Brockway returns to the courts later today at Johnsonburg, while DuBois looks to turn its fortunes around Thursday against DuBois Central Catholic for its senior night. That match is slated to start at 5 p.m.