The Elk County Catholic Crusaders opened the 2011 tennis season on Tuesday afternoon with an 8-1 victory over the Johnsonburg Area High Rams in a match played at Benzinger and Memorial parks.
"This was a good start to the season," said ECCHS Head Coach Nick Caggiano. "We definitely wanted to come on strong and I believe we accomplished that. In singles, Ben and Jarid played strong tennis and imposed their game well. They were patient when they had to be and aggressive when they had to be.
"Shane ran into a player with a game that can give anyone trouble, but it was a good loss, he stuck with his game the whole match and I have no doubt he'll definitely bounce back. At third singles, Peter Pontzer stayed with his consistent game and earned a solid win. He's a newcomer but had been impressive the past few weeks.
"In fifth singles, Scott Reichard had to shake off a shaky-looking first set, make some adjustments in his game play, and did well to battle back in an up-and-down three-setter.
"As for doubles, we were very impressed, especially in second and third doubles, where three out of four players for us were newcomers. Ben (Wortman) and Shane (Mancuso) kept up their solid play from last season and posted a straightforward win in first doubles, with great serving and net play.
"Second and third doubles were entertaining to watch. We had a few new guys making their tennis debut. Darren Simons and Scott Krellner were in sync today and showed no mercy in an 8-0 shootout in second doubles. Third doubles had Nate Dattoli and Tyler Herzing making some nice all-court plays in their victory. I've been waiting to see Krellner, Simons and Herzing in action and they were definitely impressive."
"I'm looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish this season," the coach added. "There were some positive signs of things to come in today's match. Johnsonburg has some good athletes on their team and had some nice-looking shots. It's never an easy task to rebuild a team, but I definitely saw some good things from them today."
At No. 1 singles, Johnsonburg's J. P. Allegretto defeated Shane Mancuso by a 6-4, 7-5 score.
At No. 2 singles, Elk Catholic's Ben Wortman picked up a 6-2, 6-1 victory of John Carnovale.
Peter Pontzer gave Elk a 2-1 lead when he defeated Johnsonburg's Mason Martonik by a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) score at third singles.
Elk's Jarid DeCarli picked up a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Luke Shreffler in the No. 4 singles match.
In the final singles match of the day, Elk's Scott Reichard defeated Johnsonburg's Shane Bickford 3-6, 6-0, 10-7.
Ben Wortman and Shane Mancuso of Elk won the first doubles match over Burg's Allegretto and Carnovale by an 8-4 score. At second doubles, Elk's Darren Simons and Scott Krellner won 8-0 over Martonik and Shreffler. The ECCHS team of Nate Dattoli and Tyler Herzing defeated the Johnsonburg team of Nate Fields and Bickford by an 8-2 score at third doubles. In the final doubles match, the ECCHS team of Kyler Breakey and Kevin Detsch won by a forfeit.
Elk Catholic will return to action on Thursday when they take on the St. Marys Area tennis squad.
Johnsonburg will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Bradford to take on the Bradford Owls.