The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 7, 2013

H.S. tennis: Koch becomes Lewisburg's second district champion in three years

By Brian Holtzapple

For The Daily Item

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- Hurt, tired and down a break in the third set in the finals of the District 4 Singles Tournament, Lewisburg senior Ben Koch got mad.

And he just didn't get even in the set against top-ranked David Rodenhizer of Towanda, Koch, with an aching back and all, won.

In a title match for the ages lasting nearly two and a half hours, the No. 2-seeded Koch gutted out a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Rodenhizer to claim the district championship Monday at West Branch Racquet Club.

Koch becomes Lewisburg's second District 4 singles champion in three years. Peter Csernica claimed the title in 2011. A year ago, Koch fell in the semifinals to eventual champ Maria Cioffi of South Williamsport, who went on to finish fourth in the state tournament before becoming a freshman sensation at Bucknell.

Now it's Koch's turn to go to the PIAA Championships, held May 24 and 25 at the Hershey Racquet Club. He will face District 7 runner-up Jake Mascaro of Thomas Jefferson in the first round.

"This year coming out, oh man, I wanted (to win the title) more than ever. After getting so close to going to states and just being, you know, cut (down), it sucked," said Koch, whose family moved to the Lewisburg area from New York prior to the 2011-12 school year.

"This year we played a heck of a match and I couldn't be prouder of the way I played today, even though (the match) was so long. It was probably one of the best matches I've ever played, and probably one of the most fun matches because it was so amazing."

After a spirited first-set victory that was fueled by six of his seven aces he had in the match, Koch's serve was broken twice and committed three crucial double faults as Rodenhizer rebounded to win the second set.

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