The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 8, 2013

District 4 team tennis: Lewisburg blanks top-seeded Galeton for title

Daily Item

---- — By Brian Holtzapple

For The Daily Item

BLOOMSBURG -- Ever since Lewisburg's boys began their run of success in the District 4 team tournament four years ago, the Green Dragons have been stymied while trying to score that elusive first win at states.

The Green Dragons will get another shot at that unfinished business after they upended top-ranked Galeton, 3-0, in Tuesday's championship match at Bloomsburg University.

The District 4 title is the third in four years for second-seeded Lewisburg (17-1). The Green Dragons were runners-up to Hughesville in 2011, a loss that made Lewisburg and its eight current seniors determined not to play second fiddle again.

"We told these guys they were poised (to win the title). It's so special. I don't know if Lewisburg can (claim three titles in four years) again. It's going to be a tough act to follow," said Green Dragons coach Matt Barr.

"They had a loss (in 2011), and I think that really focused them for the next two years, like, We are not going to let that happen again."

Next up for Lewisburg is a date with District 2 runner-up Wyoming Seminary. The two teams square off in a first-round state playoff match Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the West Branch Racquet Club.

"Man, if we can get that (win). That's been something we've been talking about, even since back in January when we started having team meetings," said Barr. "We've just kind of been talking about it and getting it in these guys' heads that we can possibly win (a first-round match). We'll see what happens."

One day after his marathon match to claim the district singles title, Ben Koch got Lewisburg's first win against Galeton (18-1), a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Jordan Dugan at No. 1 singles.

"We didn't want Ben to have to play a real long match. That was the biggest thing, especially after playing for two-and-a-half hours on Monday," said Barr. "But then he pulled off getting points again for us, and you can't complain against that."

The Green Dragons followed up Koch's victory with a 6-2, 6-0 win from Russell Nash over Tyler Dugan at No. 3 singles, and also a 6-1, 6-1 victory from the No. 2 doubles team of Jordan Massoud and Bryan Speake. The duo beat John Parsell and Jacob Batterson to clinch the match and the championship for Lewisburg.

"They are strong and, obviously, we are one of the best teams here," said Barr. "These guys enjoy it, too, and they want to work for it. They knew they had to work for this, and it was well worth the enjoyment."

In the semifinals Lewisburg picked up a 3-0 win over Hughesville (16-4). It was the Green Dragons' third win over the Spartans this season.

Against Hughesville, Lewisburg got wins from Koch over Josh Fry, 6-0, 6-0; Massoud and Speake over Steven Saladino and Trey Smith, 6-3, 6-4; and Kerry Shutt over Mitchel Thomas, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 singles.

In the postseason, matches end once a team has three wins.

"We had some good competition," said Barr. "Galeton is probably one of the toughest matches we had this year. We knew we matched up pretty well with them and that we were going to be a strong team. It's good to have that tough competition to springboard into next week."