DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic and Johnsonburg boys tennis teams opened their seasons Tuesday at the DuBois City Park courts, and it was the visiting Rams who came away with a tight 4-3 victory.
The singles matches were closely contested, with Johnsonburg winning three of the four matchups to put itself on the brink of victory. The Rams sealed their overall victory with a win at No. 1 doubles by Nick Bliss and Kolton Mehalko against Cardinals Colin Barnett and Grant Norman, 8-1.
Bliss and Mehalko also captured singles wins on the day. Bliss bested Barnett, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 1, while Mehalko topped Norman, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at No. 2.
Johnsonburg also got a “W” at third singles, where Scott Lewis upended Zach George, 6-2, 6-3.
Central Catholic avoided the singles sweep when Keri Hollenbaugh staged a comeback win in the No. 4 matchup. Johnsonburg’s Dan Dillinger won the opening set 6-4, but Hollenbaugh answered back by taking the second set 6-2. Hollenbaugh then won the third-set tiebreaker, 10-4.
Central got a lopsided win at No. 3 doubles, where Anne Latuska and Haley Pettenati blanked Rams Mason Millard and Jacob Newman, 8-0.
Cardinals George and Tristan Engle then pulled out a hard-fought 9-7 win at second doubles to set the final score.
“There were a lot of close matches today,” said DCC coach Andy Rice. “We came out on top in a few of them, but we fell short on a few. Winning critical points and critical games is something that will come to these players as they continue to mature as tennis players. We made too many errors today, and that just killed our chances to get a win.
“I was very proud of Keri Hollenbaugh for not giving up after losing her first set. She really had to battle back to win her match, and that was huge because it gave us a chance to win the match.
“Haley and Anne really dominated in their match. They have played well together in the past and they made it look easy today. Zach and Tristan also played well at second doubles. They built a 5-1 lead, then struggled for a little before pulling out the win in the end.
“I was happy with our net play today. We practiced volleys a lot in the gym and most of our players looked very comfortable at the net. Hopefully, that’s something we can build on.”
Both team return to action today. Central Catholic travels to Elk County Catholic, while Johnsonburg hosts Punxsutawney.