DuBOIS — The second-seeded Elk County Catholic boys tennis team gave top-seeded Punxsutawney all it could handle in the District 9 Class AA team championship, but ultimately fell to the Chucks, 3-2, on Wednesday afternoon at DuBois High School.
The Chucks took the three singles matches on the afternoon, while the Crusaders won the two doubles matches.
It had already looked like an uphill battle for the Crusaders from the start as Punxsutawney featured the two players in the District 9 Class AA singles championship on Tuesday afternoon in Matt Blose and Lucas Ambler. Blose beat Ambler in the singles final, 6-0, 6-0, on Tuesday.
“Punxsutawney had the district singles champ. I knew right away we would have to catch up and win at least three of the middle matches,” said Elk County Catholic Mike Jeselnick. “That’s what I thought would happen. Two of the singles matches ended up being very close.
“They’re a very good team. They’re a seasoned team. They hung in there and made the points when they were needed.”
Like Blose did to his teammate in the singles championship, he also made quick work of ECC’s Charles Bobby at No. 1 singles by the same 6-0, 6-0 score.
No. 2 doubles was the next match done on the day as the Crusaders evened the match score. Nolan Fannin and Joe Messineo didn’t have very much trouble in putting away Punxsy’s Vincent Gigliotti and Ryan Young for a 6-1, 6-4 win.
At No. 2 singles, ECC’s Ryan Newton and the Chucks’ Lucas Ambler fought in a close match. The first set had to go to a tiebreaker with Ambler taking seven of 10 points for a first set win. The second set was also very competitive, but Ambler once again came out on the winning end with a 6-4 win to give Punxsutawney a 2-1 match lead.
The other two matches on the afternoon needed three sets to be decided.
At No. 1 doubles, the Crusaders’ Isaac Wortman and Ross Martin won the first set easily, 6-1, against Punxsy’s Tanner Zimmerman and Michael Lin. Zimmerman and Lin came back with a 6-4 win in the second set to force the match into the third and deciding set.
The two sides split the first six games at three apiece, but Wortman and Martin took the final three games to win the third set, 6-3.
“I was really concerned whether we were going to be able to hold our own out there in the doubles,” said Jeselnick. “They were the best doubles I could present for the district championship. They played very well together. I’m very impressed with those four.”
The match came down to No. 3 singles between ECC’s Nick Daghir and Punxsutawney’s Sammy Gigliotti.
Gigliotti took the first set 6-4 before Daghir forced the third set with a 6-3 win in the second set.
By the time that the No. 1 doubles match had ended, Gigliotti already had a 4-0 lead. He finished that up with two more wins in as many games to sweep the third set, 6-0, and clinch the match for the Chucks.
With the win, Punxsutawney will now advance to the PIAA Tournament where they will take on Indiana, the second place team out of District 7. That match will take place on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at DuBois High School.
Elk County Catholic will travel to Bradford this afternoon before participating in the District 9 Class AA doubles tournament on Monday at DuBois High School.