Koons, Andrews claim YAIAA tennis titles
At 5-foot-8 and 138 pounds or so, Dallastown freshman Holden Koons is not the most imposing figure you'll ever meet.
Until you step onto a tennis court with him.
The top-seeded Koons walloped his way to a 6-2, 6-0 win against South Western senior Ben Sentz in the YAIAA Class AAA boys tennis championship match on Monday afternoon inside the Wisehaven Tennis Center. The threat of rain moved Monday's matches indoors from the outdoor courts at South Western High School.
"He's always had what some of his coaches have called a 'live arm,'" said 26-year veteran Dallastown boys' tennis coach Mark Koons, who is also Holden's father. "The ball just jumps off his racket. It's always been something he hasn't had to work on. The power has always been there."
In Class AA, York Catholic senior Michael Andrews, the top-seed in the field, avenged his loss in last year's final with a 6-2, 6-3 win against his Fighting Irish teammate Alberto Bruno, an Italian exchange student.
Koons won the first four games of the opening set before Sentz managed to hold serve twice. Koons then closed out the first set and won the last seven games to end the match in about 50 minutes.
"I started really well (against Sentz on Monday and in the regular-season match in April)," Holden Koons said. "I think it was a huge factor both times. He played better this time than I think he did the first time. He made a lot of first serves and made things tough for me."
Koons consistently was able to generate power off both his serve and his forehand.
"Serves and returns were the key," Koons said. "I was in control of every service game on my side. The two games (Sentz) won, he served very well and my returns allowed him to control the points."
Sentz, who plans to attend York College and play tennis next season, said he served pretty well and played some good points with Koons during the match. Sentz said Koons was just able to outlast him on points.
"I don't think I've ever played anybody that hits as hard as (Koons) does," Sentz said. "There's not much you can do. I went out there and tried to play my best tennis. I'm happy with the results. I played my best. He just played better. He hit some phenomenal shots."
Andrews was denied the Class AA title last spring by York Suburban's Elliot Diehl. This year, the University of Pittsburgh-bound senior had to fend off a teammate who was not even in the country last year.
"I lost a tough one last year," Andrews said. "This year, it was another battle. We know each other's ins and outs. I just focused on point to point. ... I'm happy to have him on my team, that's for sure."
Andrews said Bruno is skilled at coming into the net and has a tough serve, adding those qualities will help him in the YAIAA doubles tournament that begins Tuesday. Andrews and Bruno enter as the top-seeded team in Class AA.
Bruno was happy with his performance in the tourney, which he entered as the No. 4 seed.
"I'm happy I made it to the finals," said Bruno, a junior who is from Naples, Italy. He is staying with Dave and Leigh Oppedisano of York this year through AFS. "I beat the No. 2 seed (in the semifinals), so that was good. He was the No. 1 player for Gettysburg. Here (against Andrews), I tried, I fought and I lost, but it's fine."
No. 4 Joey Stiles of New Oxford won the Class AAA third-place match with a 6-2, 6-2 win against No. 8 Hunter Jones of Dallastown. In Class AA, second-seeded Adam Yingling of Gettysburg claimed the third-place match with a 6-3, 7-5 win against No. 3 Brett Gill of Littlestown.
Koons and Jones take the top seed into the Class AAA doubles field.
YAIAA singles championships
(1) Holden Koons, Dt def. (2) Ben Sentz, SW, 6-2, 6-0.
(4) Joey Stiles, NO def. (8) Hunter Jones, Dt, 6-2, 6-2.
(1) Michael Andrews, YC, def. (4) Alberto Bruno, YC, 6-2, 6-3.
(2) Adam Yingling, Get., def. (3) Brett Gill, Lt, 6-3, 7-5.