Sewickley Academy, Shady Side Academy advance to PIAA tennis semifinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HERSHEY — Shady Side Academy's Eric Grubbs may have been embroiled in a match with Thomas Vernier of Lower Merion, but he had enough court presence to see the big picture and what was going on around him.
“I figured it out whenever our (No. 3) singles lost, and I saw almost everyone on our team in the stands and I didn't hear any cheering,” Grubbs said. “I wasn't focused on that, but I was able to piece it together.”
Shady Side Academy lost both the Nos. 1 and 3 singles matches and rolled over Lower Merion in both doubles, which set up a winner-take-all between Grubbs and Vernier with a spot in the PIAA Class AAA boys team tennis semifinals.
It was a situation Grubbs desired and thrived in as he came away with a 6-4, 6-4 victory to clinch a 3-2 team win and set the Indians up with a 1:30 p.m. Saturday match with District 1 third-place finisher Council Rock North.
“We just got a great effort out of our No. 2 player,” Shady Side Academy coach Tom Mercer said. “We know that our doubles are strong and they're going to give us a chance. And we have three good singles players, and hopefully we can get one of those and we did.”
Perhaps the strangest thing was how Grubbs won. In both the first and second sets, Vernier was serving at 4-5 and was up 40-0, but both times he surrendered three consecutive points and Grubbs was eventually able to break and win the sets.
“In the first set I was a little nervous, but I played two solid points and then I had him on the third point,” Grubbs said. “I knew when he double-faulted at 40-15 in the second set, that him and I were thinking the same thing — that I just had to close out the game — and I just executed.”
Sewickley Academy also gained a berth in the semifinals, as the Panthers made short work of District 4 champion Lewisburg, 4-0, and will play District 3 runner-up Lancaster Country Day in the Class AA semifinals at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club.
“I thought we were very efficient,” Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder said. “We played smart, high-percentage tennis, and we got off the court without prolonging the day.”
Sewickley Academy got off so fast that the third singles match between the Panthers' Patrick Dellinger and Lewisburg's Russ Nash was stopped after the two split the first two sets. Since everything had been decided, both coaches agreed to call it a draw and not risk an injury.
It's not as though Sewickley Academy doesn't already have a bit of a concern in that area.
Senior Will Kleeman, the team's No. 2 singles player, is nursing tendinitis in his right wrist and spent several minutes with the PIAA trainer before and after the match.
Though he walked around with an ice pack after defeating Kerry Shutt, 6-3, 6-2, he is confident it won't bother him Saturday or when he plays in the state doubles tournament next week.
“I've been trying to cope and get off the court as fast as I could without doing too much to it,” Kleeman said. “I know I'm going to rest up and try to play as efficiently as I can and get ready this week for state doubles.”
Also in the Class AA tournament, Mars lost, 4-1, to Eastern Lebanon County. In Class AAA, North Allegheny fell to two-time defending state champion Conestoga, 3-2.
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.
- Dubinsky suspended for cross-check on SidneyCrosby
- Clairton captures 12th WPIAL football championship
- Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Man reports being hit by bullet in Highland Park
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Republicans roll dice as Trump headlines Pennsylvania Society event
- CBS’ ‘Code Black’ inspired by Pitt medical school graduate’s documentary
- Fox Chapel wrestlers hope to compete for section title