Crusader tennis team edges DuBois Area 5-4

The Elk County Catholic Crusader tennis team edged the DuBois Area Beavers by a 5-4 score in a match played at the Benzinger and Memorial Park courts Tuesday on Senior Day for the Crusaders.“This was a high-quality win for us today. DuBois has such a talented group of athletes on their team and are well-coached. We definitely had to fight hared to earn the ‘w’ today,” said ECCHS coach Nick Caggiano.At first singles, Trey Gilmore of DuBois beat Shane Mancuso 6-3, 6-1.At second singles, Ben Wortman of ECC beat Alex Davis 6-3, 6-2.At third singles, Palmer Casteel of the Beavers beat Peter Pontzer 6-1, 6-1.Jon Leuschel of the Crusaders defeated Corrie Olsen in three sets 6-2, 4-6 10-8 at fourth singles.Tyler Herzing of ECC beat Mark Bodtorft 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.“At first singles, it was a battle of crisp shots and consistency with Shane coming up short, but he served exceptionally well and had some nice-looking shots. Ben got it done in second singles today. Big serves and groundstrokes were the name of the game for him today. He’s been playing extremely well lately, including a big win and making the semis at districts Monday,” said the coach.“Jonny and Tyler gave us some breathing room at fourth and fifth singles, grinding out some tough matches. They know how to use their athleticism and speed to give themselves a helping hand when they need it most,” said Caggiano.At first doubles, DuBois’ Alex Davis and Ian Davis beat Wortman and Mancuso 8-5.At second doubles, Elk’s Darren Simons and Steve Krellner defeated Patrick Johnson and Colton Aimes 8-6.At third doubles, Matt Fultz and Luke Haskins of the Beavers defeated Nate Dattoli and Jon Leuschel 8-6.Elk’s Kyler Breakey and Scott Reichard defeated Charlie Hughes and Robert Dusek 8-5 in fourth doubles.“In doubles, all were close matches and we were able to capitalize on two of them to see us through. Kyler and Scotty Reichard did a good job of pulling through. Scotty Krellner and Darren were able to brush aside a slight hiccup towards the end to seal us the victory. Shane and Ben came up short against the Davis brothers. A few more errors did them in, but they had some good plays against tricky opponents. Nate and Jonny at third doubles lost some momentum, but I wasn’t disappointed. They played well and were impressive,” said Caggiano.“What I most admire about our guys is their competitiveness and their ability to raise their level and fight when it matters most. We have had some good wins lately, both as a group and individually, and are looking to keep some momentum going. Wednesday is the District 9 final, and it will for sure be a challenge. But from what I’ve seen these guys pull off lately, anything is possible,” added Caggiano.The Crusaders take on the top-seeded St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Benzinger Park for the District 9 Class AA team tennis championship.