Hand rallies to clinch semifinal for Danville

May 7—BLOOMSBURG — Right smack dab in the middle of the Burt Reese Tennis Center at Bloomsburg University, Nick Hand had a feel for everything going on around him during Tuesday's District 4 Class 2A semifinal against Central Columbia.

On one side of the court, the Danville doubles teams had dropped two straight-set matches. On the other side, the Ironmen's top two singles players — Luke Frisca and Nick Petrick — had already wrapped up straight-set wins. That left Hand in the decisive match at third singles.

"I saw both of our doubles had dropped their matches," Hand said. "I knew had to get the win, but I didn't want to think about it too much 'cause I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself.

"But I knew what was going on."

Hand rallied from 4-1 deficit in the second set and closed out Sohan Patel, 7-5, in the third set to clinch Danville's 3-2 victory over Central Columbia and send the Ironmen into the district championship.

It snapped a string of five straight district championships for Central Columbia.

Danville (16-0) will now face Lewisburg (18-0), a 4-0 winner over Galeton in the other semifinal, for the District 4 championship at either South Williamsport High School or the Central PA Tennis Center at 4 p.m. Thursday. There is steady rain in the forecast for Thursday afternoon. Only the champion will advance to the PiAA Tournament, which opens Tuesday.

It is the second consecutive year that two undefeated teams will play for the championship match. The Green Dragons and Central Columbia were both undefeated last year.

None of Tuesday's other four matches were close, and they went exactly how they did during the teams' two regular season meetings.

Frisca and Petrick won their singles matches, and the two Central Columbia doubles teams won their matches. Central Columbia's Luke Saracoglu won four games in the first set in his loss to Petrick, and the Danville doubles duo of Collin Sauers and Donovan Larson pushed the No. 2 doubles into a second-set tiebreak, before falling 7-1 in the tiebreak.

So, again, Hand and Patel had the weight of the match on their shoulders. Hand pulled out a three-set victory back on April 22, and while he won in straight sets at Bloomsburg University, it certainly wasn't an easy sweep. It was a match with a lot of long rallies.

"It's frustrating playing third singles because it's a position that has a lot of consistent kids. It's kind of like always playing against a backboard," Hand said. "You have to be a little more consistent than your opponent."

Hand won the opening set, 6-2, but Patel raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set.

"I knew I had to get two (games) in a row. I think at that point, even if we split two games, he's probably taking the set if he's up 5-2 at that point," Hand said. "I had to focus and stay consistent. I didn't have to go for winners (on every rally). I just had to stay consistent and send the ball back to him."

Hand made some unforced errors he hadn't made in the opening set and he became visibly frustrated, but it seemed to focus him as well.

"In everything I do, I'm critical of myself because I want to be the best," Hand said. "I don't think it drags me down. When I get mad at myself, it hyper-focuses me."

Hand would win the next three games to tie the set at 4, and drop the next game before clinching the meet with a victory in the next two games.

Lewisburg 4, Galeton 0

WILLIAMSPORT — The Green Dragons were barely tested against the Tigers in the District 4 Class 2A boys tennis semifinals.

Eddie Monaco IV and Sarthak Vishwakarma each dropped just four games in straight-set victories at first and third singles, respectively, for the Green Dragons (18-0), looking for their first district team title since 2017. The Green Dragons have been runner-up three times to Central Columbia in that span.

The doubles team of Alexey Rosenberg and Canyon Swartzentruber rolled, dropping just a game in each set for Lewisburg. The No. 2 doubles team of Grant Rowe and Luke Azeredo won its match, 6-2, 6-4.

It was the first time all season Galeton (13-3) didn't win a single team point.



At Burt Reese Tennis Center,

Bloomsburg University



Luke Frisca (D) def. Elias Hosler, 6-1, 6-3; Nick Petrick (D) def. Luke Saracoglu, 6-4, 6-2; Nick Hand (D) def. Sohan Patel, 6-2, 7-5.


Seth Priestman-David Toscano (CC) def. Luke Hilkert-Collin Cummins, 6-3, 6-3; Eli Seesholtz-Ben Kehres (CC) def. Colin Sauers-Donovan Larson, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).

at Williamsport H.S.

Lewisburg 4, Galeton 0


Eddie Monaco IV (L) def. Micah Batsom, 6-0, 6-4; Will Cecchini (L) vs. Reilly Streich, 6-1, not finished; Sarthak Vishwakarma (L) def. Braiden Cimino, 6-3, 6-1.


Alexey Rosenberg-Canyon Swartzentruber (L) def. John Maldin-Corbin Basile, 6-1, 6-1; Grant Rowe-Luke Azerdo (L) def. Isaac Miller-Gavin Shutt, 6-2, 6-4.