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GCC tennis hoping for first playoff appearance since 2002

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By Karen Kadilak
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

The Greensburg Central Catholic boys tennis team is optimistic about qualifying for the WPIAL Class AA team championship for the first time in more than a decade.

With the top three teams advancing to the playoffs next month, the Centurions (7-1) entered this week in second place in Section 1-AA, behind Southmoreland, which handed them their only loss. The two teams are scheduled to meet again Friday at Southmoreland.

The last time Greensburg Central Catholic reached the WPIAL playoffs was in 2002, when it qualified for the second consecutive year. The Centurions also competed in 1998.

“We had some turnover there for a while,” said Will Merchant, who coaches the team with Mary Jo Brecht. “We're more stable and have a nice corps of players.”

Seniors Bargo Patel and Dan Seamans lead the Centurions, finishing second and third, respectively, at the section singles championship. By placing in the top three, they became the first Greensburg Central Catholic players to reach the WPIAL singles tournament since 2004.

It was the first time since 2001 two players from the school qualified.

Patel advanced to the WPIAL semifinals before falling to Thomas Jefferson's Jake Mascaro and then lost to Bentworth's Matt Lynch in the consolation match.

Patel and Seamans expect to be a formidable team at the section doubles championship next week.

Greensburg Central Catholic's most improved player, senior Jake Hoak has excelled at first doubles in dual matches.

“Jake works hard and has fun,” Merchant said.

Senior Nick Very has been a stalwart at third singles.

In their first year on the team, senior Devon Nguyen and sophomore Nick Corona have made solid contributions, Merchant said.

Seniors Matt Come and Nate Niemic also have played.

The team's only fourth-year player, Seamans, 17, likes the Centurions' cohesiveness.

“There aren't as many new players,” he said. “We haven't been thrown together.”

In their last two postseason appearances, the Centurions were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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