Tull, Muraika ousted in district singles
The highly successful singles seasons of Cedar Crest tennis standouts Nick Tull and Jack Muraika are officially over.
But it took the top two seeds in the District Three Class AAA draw to end them, and they weren't halted without considerable reason for consolation.
Tull and Muraika bowed out of the district tourney after a pair of second-round losses at Hershey Racquet Club on Saturday.
Tull, a senior and the reigning Lebanon County champ, posted a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Hempfield's Jay Cooke in the first round, before falling to No. 2 seed Jonah Baczewski by a 6-4, 6-1 count in the second round. Muraika, a freshman, met a similar fate, besting Ben Sentz of South Western 6-4, 6-0 in the opening round, then dropping a 6-3, 6-1 decision to top-seeded Holden Koons of Dallastown in his next match.
Before being eliminated, Tull registered the first district singles win of his career by beating Cooke, while Muraika's loss was only the second of a stellar freshman season. And neither defeat marked the real end of the 2016 campaign for either, since they are destined for a high seed in the district doubles tourney that begins on Friday.
"I think I had a good season," said Tull. "I finished third at leagues, and got a win here today and made it to the quarters. No complaints, I thought I played pretty well throughout the season, so I'm happy with how things went."
Muraika had a similar grasp on the big picture after seeing the conclusion of his single season, but was nonetheless disappointed in his effort against Koons. After battling the No.1 seed to a 3-3 draw in the first set, Muraika gave in to frustration while winning just one more game.
"I lost, but if anything I'll use that as motivation to work harder next season," said Muraika. "That being said, I think I could have played a lot better. I think it came down to my poise. I usually kinda pride myself on being calm on the court, but I let it get in my head. I was getting kinda angry at myself. I think if I would have kept my poise I would've had a better chance."
Tull kept his composure well enough against big-hitting lefty Baczewski, but couldn't overcome some ill-timed double faults late in the opening set after playing to a 4-4 tie and giving himself a chance to take control.
"I played really well in the first set, I was really happy with how I played," Tull said. "I think I did a lot of things right in the first set. And he was playing well the entire match, too. At 4-5, we were on serve, but I had two unfortunate double faults that put me down 15-40. It was unfortunate timing, but that's part of the match."
And now it's on to doubles for the two Falcons, who earlier in the week captured the Lancaster-Lebanon League AAA crown. If they continue their current level of play, adding a district title to their collection is certainly not out of the question.
"I said before that I was looking forward to the opportunity for Jack and I to maybe play in district doubles," Tull said. "So now that it's actually gonna happen, I'm looking forward to it. It's a good consolation. I think we'll play well as a team, like we have throughout the season. We'll see what happens."