NA doubles team wins state title
HERSHEY – In all, it was a successful weekend of boys' tennis for the WPIAL at the PIAA championships.
Players from WPIAL schools competed in three of Saturday's four finals at Hershey Racquet Club, including an all-WPIAL championship.
North Allegheny's Kevin Goth and Jared Isaacs toppled Shady Side Academy's Chris Grubbs and Michael Kann, 6-4, 6-4, in the PIAA Class AAA doubles final Saturday afternoon. The Tigers' duo avenged a loss in the WPIAL final.
“It was good to have two Pittsburgh teams in the final,” Goth, a senior, said, “but me and Jared, we were training hard for this, and it paid off.”
Goth and Isaacs' gold is the first of any kind for the WPIAL since 2010, when Shady Side's Chris Mengel won the singles crown. They are the WPIAL's first doubles team to win a state title since Doug Subosits and Andrew Nixon of Peters Township in 2008.
“It doesn't feel like this is happening right now, because you'll never know if you'll get back,” Isaacs, a sophomore, said. “It's unreal. But we pulled through. Hard works pays off.”
Goth goes out a champ in his final high school match.
“It's crazy,” he said. “I can just say the last match I won, I won doubles in states.”
Goth and Isaacs reached their title match with a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal win over Dan Tornea and Thomas Christian of District 1 Abington. Grubbs and Kann reached with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Nolan Perugini and Jonah Buczewski from District 3's Exeter.
A tight first set went North Allegheny's way, but Shady Side rallied in the second set to go up 4-3, before the Tigers broke back and rolled to wins in the next three games to capture the match.
In addition, Sewickley Academy freshman Luke Ross reached the PIAA Class AA singles final, falling to Wyomissing's Andre Fick 6-0, 6-0, while Central Catholic's Adam Blasinsky extended Unionville's John Wu to three sets before losing in the PIAA Class AAA singles title match, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 score.
Ross perhaps pulled off the most impressive win of the second day by taking out last year's Class AA singles finalist, junior Blaise Casselbury of Lancaster Country Day, in a tough 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 semifinal match.
“Each set was different, each set had a different momentum,” Ross said. “I was just lucky enough to get the momentum back in the third set and continue with it. Before the start of the third set I told myself that it was a clean slate. We're even.”
Against Fick in the final, unforced errors proved Ross' undoing as Fick became the first singles champion in at least 54 years to not drop a single game in a title match.
Blasinsky reached the AAA singles final with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Andrew Sinai of District 11's Freedom. Wu reached with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Latrobe's Chad Kissel.
In the title match, Blasinsky closed out the first set with two holds sandwiching a break to win it 6-3, but the battle of baseline sluggers was just heating up.
Both players were on serve for three games until Wu cashed in on strong shot placement and unforced errors to win the second set 6-1. The third set saw Wu grab a crucial break to go up 4-3, and he rode serve out to the victory.
In other action, the Sewickley doubles pairing of Ryan Gex and Luke Vith were eliminated in the Class AA semifinal round with a 6-4, 5-7, 3-6 loss to Pete Kazmierczak and Tony Kutz of District 2's Scranton Prep.