Nazareth ousts Trojans from districts
No offense to Nazareth, but its tennis team is really becoming a thorn in the side of the Parkland team. It was Nazareth that beat Parkland during the regular season, snapping the Trojans’ 152-game conference win streak, and then, Nazareth knocked Parkland out of the District 11 team tournament with a 3-0 win on Tuesday.
Trojan head coach Mike Hingston is never ready to come up with an excuse for a loss, but it should be noted that the team has been without a couple of players, which has made things much more difficult. Nick Hawk, the team’s number-two singles player has missed time, including having missed playing in the district singles and team tournaments, because of a bad back.
Not having Hawk has made things difficult for Hingston, who put Arvind Parthasarathy into the number-two singles spot in the first round of districts against Pleasant Valley. Hingston elected to simply try to fill the number-two spot without moving everybody up a step and throwing off his doubles teams. Parthasarathy picked up a 6-0, 6-4 win over Najja Francis of Pleasant Valley, helping lead Parkland to a 5-0 win over the Bears.
“Arvind played well stepping into the number-two spot,” said Hingston. “We’ll have to see what happens, because we have a couple of pretty good teams out there waiting for us. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Against Nazareth, Hingston tried Sam Zahn in Hawk’s usual spot, but Zahn was shutout 6-0, 6-0 by the Blue Eagles Gabe Knowles.
Hingston was hoping that having his team get the number-two seed in the tournament, meaning that the rematch with Nazareth would be on their home court, would help his team advance to the finals.
“We were fortunate to get that,” said Hingston of the number-two seed. “The power rankings being what they are, I guess the winning percentage of our opponents was higher than what they had, so we were fortunate to get that. We would have played them either way, but it’s just the difference of playing them either home or away.”
With the win, Nazareth advances to the district finals, where the Blue Eagles lost 3-2 to top-seeded Liberty.
One of the players stepping up in the quarterfinals match with Pleasant Valley was number-three singles player Alex Son, who took a 6-1, 6-3 win over the Bears Josh Schaffner.
“I’m just trying to do what I usually do, and whatever happens, happens,” said Son of his impressive win in the quarterfinals.
Having players like Son step up this season was key for Parkland after it lost a number of top players, including number-one singles player Nick Kshatri and number-two Nate Lyman. Son, who played doubles last season adjusted to the role of playing singles.
“Losing Nick and Nate last year was tough, but we all stepped up this year and are all just focusing on getting wins,” said Son.