Hampton tennis team bows out
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Sometimes a season ends because of unforeseen circumstances, like having to face the kick serve of a giant.
Jon Harrison had not lost a single match at second singles all year, but during Hampton's WPIAL quarterfinal contest against No. 4 seed Mt. Lebanon, he was locked in a tight first set. Harrison trailed, 3-2, in a tiebreaker when his opponent's second serve struck a crack on the court and the ball was propelled 15 feet over Harrison's head.
Coach Grant McKinney said the skip “was like the kick serve of a giant.”
Two more trampoline bounces from the court in the same tiebreak helped defeat Harrison, 7-3.
Harrison, perturbed by this unlucky turn of events, lost the second set, as well. Hampton also fell in close matches at first and second doubles, meaning the Talbots' season ended in a 4-1 defeat.
“I'm really proud about the season,” McKinney said, although it was Hampton's earliest playoff loss in three years.
“I think we met expectations,” Harrison said. “I'm happy with how the season ended.”
In 2013, Hampton jumped from Class AA to AAA in boys tennis but still earned a No. 5 seed in the WPIAL tournament and compiled a 13-2 record in the regular season.
The Talbots' successful jump in classifications would not have been possible without significant improvements and impressive performances from several players. McKinney said Benny Truckenbrod and Harrison were the most improved players.
Harrison worked hard over the summer and moved from third to second singles in the lineup. The team depended on Harrison for wins, and he provided one every match during the regular season.
McKinney also praised Truckenbrod, who paired with senior Ryan Koch at second doubles.
“He improved his serve. He stepped up and played really solid doubles,” McKinney said.
Harrison and McKinney were impressed with the clutch play of Wes Banks and Jung Bang during a regular-season match against Pine-Richland. The Rams put two singles players together at first doubles, but Banks and Bang prevailed, 3-2.
Not to be forgotten are senior Brad Cisek, who held his own against formidable opponents at first singles, and senior Michael Pfefferle-Gillot, who provided the lone win against Mt. Lebanon in the playoffs.
“It was a special one to go out on” McKinney said. “His opponent was a very good player. P-G was very creative in the way he tried to jump start his game.”
While the season may have ended earlier than the Talbots would have liked, it was still a campaign to be proud of.
McKinney said he learned “the fun of tennis is to go out there every day and compete. It's about watching the guys grow and mature as players.”
For the second year in a row, Hampton will lose five seniors, but McKinney can look forward to seeing his three returning starters improve over the summer while counting on whoever steps into the doubles spots to compete as hard as they can.
Sean Malone is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- McGinty officially a candidate for a Democratic U.S. Senate nomination
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Police: Florida man arrested for hitting, dragging Dunbar Township man with truck
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- Thirsty pit bull turned on Arnold neighbors
- Authorities identify 2 men killed in fiery crash in Pittsburgh
- Obama’s Clean Power plan doesn’t change much; opponents remain firm