Bethlehem Press

Saturday, May 26, 2018
Press photo by Katie McDonaldThe Liberty tennis team knocked off Parkland for the District 11 team title. Copyright - Digital Media Magic Press photo by Katie McDonaldThe Liberty tennis team knocked off Parkland for the District 11 team title. Copyright - Digital Media Magic

LHS wins boys D-11 title

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Katie McDonald kmcdonald@tnonline.com in Sports

The Liberty Hurricanes were crowned District XI Class 3A team tennis champions for the second year in a row after scoring a 3-2 victory over Parkland last Thursday at Lehigh University.

Liberty’s players, most of whom returned from last season but in a new lineup, also avenged an earlier-season, 1-6, loss to Parkland, which made the victory all the more sweet.

“We certainly wanted a lot of revenge,” said Jacob Wong, who won at number one doubles with Anthony Ronca, 6-1, 6-4. “Anthony’s serve was on. The second set was whoever could maintain their composure the longest. [Parkland] hit a good serve, Anthony returned it, he hit it back, I hit a put away ball [to end the match].”

Wong and Ronca prepared for the match strategically to beat Jonah Grob and Ankit Lenka.

“We knew how they play. So Jonah has a huge serve but he double faults a lot. Playing consistent, getting the ball back, playing cross court, and extremely aggressive up at the net, put the ball away so they can’t even touch it. We executed that perfectly today,” said Ronca.

Liberty’s number two singles player David Lynn was the first to finish his match, defeating Ryan Guzman, 6-0, 6-3.

“The heat was definitely a challenge. The heat takes it out of you, and it’s harder to keep your concentration,” Lynn said. “I think maybe I let up a little bit too much [in the second set] and let him come back a little bit. Basically, just playing solid from the baseline was working for me today.”

Liberty’s number two doubles team of Marc Burritt and Duke Jin played a hard fought match against Nishant Chitluru and Matthew Liu but lost, 3-6, 3-6.

At number one singles, Liberty’s Louis Gruber lost the first set to Alex Son, 4-6. With the second set tied, 1-1, Gruber withdrew due to an injury and Son won by default.

That meant the team match rested on the shoulders of Liberty’s Gavin Snyder and Parkland’s Sam Zahn.

“I wasn’t really aware of [the other matches’ scores], but I knew my match was very important because everyone was watching,” said Snyder. “He won [in the regular season]. It was a close match. I wanted to win this time. I know, in the semifinals, when we played Nazareth, I hit a lot of lobs to his backhand, so I used that on him, and it worked.”

Match point came when Zahn failed to return Snyder’s serve.

“I actually didn’t think we were going to win, but once everyone started crowding around me, I knew,” Snyder said. “It was tougher this year than last year, but it’s more rewarding.”

Gold medals were presented to the Hurricanes by head coach Leo Schnalzer and assistants Chris Conrad and Dawn Ketterman-Benner.

The Hurricanes will move on to the PIAA State Class 3A Team Tennis Tournament, scheduled to begin on May 15 at Winning Touch in Allentown.