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DuBOIS â€“ The Elk County Catholic Crusader tennis squad defeated the St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen 4-1 at the DuBois Area High School tennis courts to claim the 2012 District 9 AA Boys' Tennis Team Championship on Wednesday afternoon in a match played under threatening skies that ultimately transitioned to a light drizzle just as the final match was finishing up.
"I can't say enough about these guys," ECC coach Nick Caggiano said following the match. "I think this has been a long time coming for the past few seasons. I think we've been laying the groundwork for this day for a long time. My advice to them was to stick to their game, to play their shots, know their strengths, and to come out of the gates fresh-- and we certainly did."
At second doubles, the Crusader duo of Scott Krellner and Alex Herzing defeated Gary Fledderman and Eric Uhl 6-2, 6-1 to give ECC a 1-0 lead in the match.
The next two victories came in quick succession for the Crusaders as Ben Wortman defeated Michael Fox 6-0, 6-1 at first singles and Shane Mancuso beat D.J. Challingsworth 6-1, 6-2 to put the Crusaders up 3-0 and secure ECC's victory in the best-of-five contest.
"Ben, Shane, and Scott Krellner and Alex Herzing really came out of the gate firing away," Caggiano said.
Drew Meyer also picked up a win for ECC at second singles, defeating Evan Lepovetsky 6-4, 6-4 to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Crusaders.
"Drew had a very hard-fought straight set win. It was very close," Caggiano said. "It was 6-4, 6-4, but it could have gone either way."
The Crusaders' only loss of the day came at first doubles as the St. Marys Area duo of Jarrod Lipsey and Dalton Gennocro defeated Aaron Meier and Scott Reichard 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).
"They played really hard," Caggiano said of Meier and Reichard. "They're two evenly matched teams in that court. It could have gone either way and they had some great shots regardless of the loss."
The Crusaders are now 12-1 on the season and will advance to the opening round of the PIAA Class AA Tournament next Tuesday when they take on the runner-up of District 7 in Pittsburgh at a site and time to be announced.
Wednesday's match marked the third year in a row that the two teams have faced each other for the D9 AA team title. The Dutchmen came out on top in the previous two match-ups, but the Crusaders improved each year and were finally able to take the win this season.
"I've known some of these guys for a long time and we've become a family over the course of the years, so it's great to win this with them and to enjoy this one because we really had fun today," Caggiano said.
In Class AAA, DuBois defeated Punxsutawney 3-2 to advance to Tuesday's PIAA Class AAA Tournament.
The results of Wednesday's matches follow:
First singles - Ben Wortman - EC defeated Michael Fox - SM, 6-0, 6-1.
Second singles - Drew Meyer - EC defeated Evan Lepovetsky - SM, 6-4, 6-4.
Third singles - Shane Mancuso - EC defeated D.J. Challingsowrth - SM, 6-1, 6-2.
First doubles - Jarrod Lipsey and Dalton Gennocro - SM defeated Aaron Meier and Scott Reichard - EC, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).
Second doubles - Scott Krellner and Alex Herzing - EC defeated Gary Fledderman and Eric Uhl - SM, 6-2, 6-1.