Bacha gets a grip, rallies Central York to District 3 team tennis win
To hear Central York junior Connor Bacha tell it, a change in rackets might have saved the Panthers' team tennis season.
Bacha was locked in a struggle with Cedar Crest's Marko Resetar at No. 3 singles in what would become the match that determined the survivor of the first round of the District 3 Class AAA team tennis playoffs Thursday at Hershey Racquet Club.
Bacha had just dropped the first set in a tiebreaker. He wasn't happy with the grip. So he changed rackets.
"My grip was pretty slippery so I changed rackets, and it seemed to work out really well," Bacha said. "I wanted to keep the momentum going; I really wanted 6-0 (in the second set) and to keep that going.
"My forehands were definitely better from the second set on. I came to net a few times and that seemed to help out really well."
Whatever the root cause, Bacha capped a comeback by nailing the final two sets in emphatic fashion to lead No. 12-seed Central York to a 3-2 win against the No. 5 seed Falcons. His 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-2 verdict propelled the Panthers into a Tuesday matchup with No. 4 Hershey, which received a first-round bye.
"I'm pretty pumped," Bacha said. "I found what worked and just kept plugging away."
The YAIAA's other Class AAA entrant, Dallastown, was not as fortunate. The Wildcats dropped a 3-1 decision to Central Dauphin.
Cedar Crest's Colin Muraika and Nick Tull dominated at first and second singles, to no one's real surprise. Muraika clocked a 6-0, 6-2 decision against Central York's Chris Maderitz, while Tull took out Jeremy Garling, 6-0, 6-1.
Victories on both doubles courts set up the Panthers for success. Austin Pokepec and Corey Caskey defeated Liam Easter and Lucas Kerbis, 6-0, 6-4, at No. 1, while Kyle Varone and Mike Visco vanquished the Crest duo of Connor Verhaggen and Austin Moore, 6-4, 6-0.
Mark Koons' Dallastown Wildcats got a strong effort at top singles with John Schmitt's 6-4, 6-1 win against Adam Henken, but Central Dauphin seized three other courts to clinch victory. Ryan Seibert defeated Dallastown's Tyler Lilie, 7-5, 1-6, 6-0, at No. 2 singles, and the Rams clinched it with a doubles sweep. Zach Foglesanger and Michael Henning clipped Sachin Venkatesh and David Trimmer 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1, while Dante Bressi and Andre Orbeta beat Nate Swartz and Tamer El-Maghrabi in a tight match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
"I think the big difference was No. 1 doubles," Koons said. "They (CD) were significantly stronger. And that was the only match that wasn't really competitive. There was a big game at two doubles I got to see. We were serving at 2-3 in the third set and were up 30-love and lost that game. And that was the turning point."
The third singles match between Dallastown's Hunter Jones and CD's Aaron Gold was permitted to finish, with Jones coming away with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win.
"The guys at three play very similar games," Koons said. "My guy, Hunter, usually has a way of figuring people out. He doesn't hit hard, which can drive guys nuts. But the CD player (Gold) plays the exact same way."
Koons took positives away from his squad's effort, despite the early exit.
"This is a nice reward at the end the end of the year," he said. "There's always great intensity in here; it's a great place to watch. Always a highlight of the season. For our guys, it was more of a get-your-feet-wet thing, with one senior and six sophomores. So I was just glad to get 'em here."
First round Thursday, April 30
(12) Central York 3, (5) Cedar Crest 2
Singles — Colin Muraika, CC, def. Chris Maderitz, 6-0, 6-2. Nick Tull, CC, def. Jeremy Garling, 6-0, 6-1. Connor Bacah, CY, def. Marka Resetar, 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-2.
Doubles — Austin Pokopec-Corey Caskey, CY, def. Liam Easter-Lucas Kerbis, 6-0, 6-4. Kyle Varone-Mike Visco, CY, def. Connor Verhaggen-Austin Moors, 6-4, 6-0.
(11) Central Dauphin 3, (6) Dallastown 2
Singles — Jon Schmitt, Dt, def. Adam Henken, 6-4, 6-1. Ryan Seibert, CD, def. Tyler Lilie, 7-5, 1-6, 6-0. Hunter Jones, Dt, def. Aaron Gold, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
Doubles — Zach-Foglesanger-Michael Henning, CD, def. Sachin Venkatesh-David Trimmer, 6-2, 6-1. Dante Bressi-Andrew Orbeta, CD, def. Nate Swartz-Tamer El-Maghrabi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
(10) Exeter 3, (7) Palmyra 1
Singles — Jonah Buczewski, Ex, def. Eric Lynn, 6-0, 6-0. Todd Weiner, Ex, def. Ben Rusling, 6-1, 6-0. Diego Olazagasti, Ex, def. Eric Kohl, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles — Jeff Perdoch-Eric Demotta, Ex, vs. Campbell Graff-Juan Cruz, 7-5, 2-1 (DNF). Adam Lerro-Quinn Marcus, Pal, def. Owen Halsey-Ethan Reed, 6-2, 6-0.
(9) Cumberland Valley 3, (8) Ephrata 2
Singles — Milo Nagel, CV, def. Lukas Olsen, 6-3, 6-1. Matt Knox, CV, def. Bob Lowrie, 6-2, 6-0. Berk Uras, CV, def. Christian Miles, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3.
Doubles — Mario Murcia-Travis Groff, Ep, def. Sanjay Sood-Mike Hall, 6-0, 7-5. Alex Mantsevich-Kller Martin, Ep, def. Will Shields-Cedric Gambill, 6-1, 6-4.
Second round Tuesday, May 5
(4) Hershey vs. (12) Central York, 11:30 a.m.
(2) Hempfield vs. (10) Exeter, 12:45 p.m.
(3) South Western vs. (11) Central Dauphin, 2 p.m.
(1) Manheim Township vs. (9) Cumberland Valley, 3:15 p.m.
First round Friday, May 1
(1) Wyomissing vs. (8) Lancaster Mennonite, 11:30 p.m.
(4) York Suburban vs. (5) East Pennsboro, 12:45 p.m.
(3) Lancaster Country Day vs. (6) Hamburg, 2 p.m.
(2) ELCO vs. (7) Fleetwood, 3:15 p.m.