Southmoreland doubles team prepares for WPIAL event
Southmoreland seniors Tyler Fox and Kevin Bundridge don't spend a lot of time playing tennis together, but that hasn't stopped them from forming one of the top doubles combinations that Section 1-AA — and possibly the WPIAL — has to offer.
Fox and Bundridge have not only helped the Scotties go 13-0 this year, they also earned a trip to the WPIAL Class AA doubles tournament by placing second in the April 22 section tournament.
The Scotties' duo will play in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA doubles tournament at 1 p.m. Monday at Keystone Oaks. Brackets for the two-day tournament have yet to be released.
For Fox and Bundridge, the key to success will be relying on experience.
In the section tournament, the Southmoreland tandem was the top seed and cruised into the finals. But in the championship match, Fox and Bundridge lost, 6-1, 6-2, to Greensburg Central Catholic's Bargo Patel and Dan Seaman. Fox noted that he and Bundridge have to be able to stay focused when play doesn't go their way.
“I feel like we got frustrated, and we just didn't focus,” Fox said. “We just have to play our game and stick to what we are strong at. KJ (Bundridge) is more powerful, and I've got good placement with shots, so it balances out.”
This is not the first time that the pair has advanced to WPIALs in doubles. As juniors, Fox and Bundridge won their first WPIAL match but were eliminated in the second round. The second-round defeat may serve as motivation in their final trip to the doubles tournament.
“I just want us to go further than we did last year,” Bundridge said.
Like Fox, Bundridge also believes that the duo can advance deep into the tournament if they don't get flustered.
“We just have to keep our anger in check because it's easy to get mad when you are playing, and then you start messing up,” Bundridge said. “That's when bad things can happen.”
Past tournaments could prove valuable for Fox and Bundridge, but so could their time together as freshmen. When they first joined the Southmoreland tennis team, the duo played together as a regular doubles tandem. Now Fox and Bundridge hold down first and second singles, respectively. But they still know how to work together during the rare times they share the court.
“We know how each other plays, and we're friends, so it helps a lot with communication,” Fox said.
Southmoreland tennis coach Jim Kessler acknowledged that both players have been tremendous assets in what has become a fine season for the Scotties. He also expects them to perform well together next week.
“I expect them to get through the first round,” Kessler said. “They'll start to meet some of the Pittsburgh (area) teams in the second round, but I expect them to do well.”
Fox noted that he and Bundridge will try to keep things as simple as possible.
“We just want to play the best we can,” Fox said.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.