Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Matt Potts is back as Freedom’s number-one tennis player. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ Matt Potts is back as Freedom’s number-one tennis player. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Pates happy to top Mounties

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Katie McDonald kmcdonald@tnonline.com in Sports

Freedom’s boys’ tennis team was in the middle of a match at Pocono Mountain East on March 13 when the Patriots became aware that the season was being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Initially, I think we were all a little shocked, even though we were aware a postponement was possible, especially after the NCAA and NBA suspended their seasons,” said Freedom tennis coach Matt Potts. “I am not really sure anybody knew what to think. Ultimately, all of the kids are optimistic that they will be back on the courts to finish the season, but we are all pretty much in uncharted waters.”

The Pates left Pocono Mountain East with their third victory of the new season, defeating the Cardinals, 7-0, after winning against East Stroudsburg North, 6-0, on March 9, but it was the 6-1 victory over Stroudsburg on March 11 that meant the most.

“Stroudsburg beat us convincingly the last two years, and we were aware that they were team district semifinalists last year, so we knew we had to come out strong and pretty much everybody did,” Potts said.

In that match, Noah Potts won, 6-2, 6-3, at one singles, Arun Chhugani lost, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, at two singles, and Gavin Labaddia won, 6-1, 6-2, at three singles.

“Our singles players are freshmen and one of our doubles players is a freshman, so high school tennis, itself, is new to half of our team,” Potts said.

Advay Deshmukh and Connor Olivieri won at two doubles, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

“At two doubles, we came out ready to play and jumped on them early. Stroudsburg made some adjustments in the second set and maybe our kids lost a little focus, but they got back on track in the second half of the second set,” said Potts.

“Advay was one of the best third singles players in the district last year. We had three tough freshmen come in and right now, Advay is at the two doubles spot, but he’s a kid who can compete with anybody. Connor is a very talented freshman, who, I think has a very high ceiling, and the two of them play well together.”

Shivam Chand and Tommy Potts won at three doubles, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4).

“Three doubles jumped out to a good start, but the Stroudsburg team (Jaren Norte and Jake Hoffman) was strong and pretty much dominated us in the second set. Our kids got back to playing just good, solid doubles on the third set,” Potts said.

“We kept the ball away from the net player, limited our errors, and played aggressively when we got the chance. Ultimately, we were able to get the set into a tiebreaker and squeaked out the win.”

Fahim Paiker and Dylan Sarkozy won at four doubles, 6-3, 6-3.

The Pates were scheduled to play their fourth match on March 14 against Southern Lehigh, but now, with the season on hold, it remains to be seen where boys’ tennis will pick up for the 2020 season.