DuBOIS — Monday afternoon’s matchup between the DuBois Central Catholic and Clearfield boys tennis teams proved to be more than a rough outing for the Cardinal netters, as the visiting Bison took three of four singles matches and swept all three doubles contest in a 6-1 victory.
Grant Norman was the sole Cardinal to earn a victory on the day, winning at No. 1 singles in a grueling bout against Clearfield’s Gavin Starr that was ultimately decided in a tiebreaker match.
Unfortunately, the rest of DCC’s roster were unable to snag a win against Clearfield, and as head coach Andy Rice notes, he had expected nothing less from a team of the Bison’s caliber.
“Overall, I would have liked for the matches to be more competitive,” Rice said.”But, Clearfield is a good team and they took care of business today.”
Norman’s win at No. 1 singles was easily match of the day, as both he and Starr pushed each other to the limit in a bout that seemingly had no end.
Norman took the first set in a fairly close battle, edging out the Clearfield senior 6-4, but Starr retaliated by topping Norman 6-3 in the second set.
From there, the two entered a tiebreaker to decide the match, but like the sets before, the means to an end would be long-fought and evenly matched.
For several long intervals, both Norman and Starr pushed the other to the limit, exchanging points in a back-and-forth affair that saw neither gain an edge over the other.
Tied at 14-14, Norman finally managed to earn the go-ahead point and then was able to clinch the win entirely when Starr’s return attempt hit the net, giving the DCC sophomore the 16-14 victory.
“I was really pleased with how Grant composed himself to get that win at one singles,” Rice said about his No. 1 singles competitor. “He was really frustrated going into the tiebreaker, and that was a really tight back-and-forth struggle. He controlled his emotions very well and showed that he’s growing as a player in that tiebreaker.”
Despite the impressive win on the day, the rest of the Cardinals’ lineup were not as lucky.
Colin Barnett was bested by Ryan Spencer at No. 2 singles, being shut-out in the first set 6-0 and falling in the second set, 6-2.
Keri Hollenbaugh faired slightly better against Avery Rowles at No. 3, but was ultimately handed the loss for the day (6-2, 6-1), while Anne Latuska saw much of the same with a 6-0 and 6-2 loss to Richie Shaffer at No. 4.
In doubles, Clearfield swept all three of DCC’s teams.
The duo of Norman and Barnett got off to a quick start at No. 1 doubles but could not overcome the combined hitting forces of Starr and Spencer, losing to the team by a final of 8-3.
Hollenbaugh and Latuska had similar results against Rowles and Remington Shugarts at No. 2 doubles, falling to the Bison tandem 8-2, while Tristan Engle and Mackenzie Manning were granted the Cardinals’ final ‘L’ of the day at the hands of Landan Cross and Kyler Rosinsky.
Though the day presented less than ideal results for the Cardinal netters as a whole, Rice notes that their determination and willingness to improve never falters, and that in itself serves as a positive moving forward.
“These kids have great attitudes,” Rice said. “Even though we’re losing most of our matches, they’re keeping their chins up and focussing on getting better. Every time a court opened up when a match ended today, I had kids moving in, hitting some balls, and working on their game.”
Central Catholic returns to action later today when it host Punxsutawney.