KINGSTON – Nick Harth pulled off a come-from-behind upset in the quarterfinals of the singles tournament and Matt Costello scored a point for his team with a win in the team semifinals.
Harth and the Pittston Area team as a whole were eventually stopped in the semifinals of the District 2-4 Class 3A Subregional boys tennis individual and team tournaments, but, with the top two singles players leading the way, the Patriots made progress in moving closer to the sport’s elite teams locally.
Costello beat Abhay Byadgi, 6-0, 6-1, at second singles Thursday when Pittston Area was beaten by Lackawanna League champion Delaware Valley, 3-1, in the team semifinals.
Harth was still battling at that point, trailing Tomas Reese, 6-5, in the second set after losing 6-0 in the first set at number-one singles. With the team victory decided and Delaware Valley advancing to the final later in the day, the Harth-Reese match was halted at that point.
Harth’s comeback attempt should not have been a surprise. He had already rallied from being shut out in the first set two days earlier to win in the singles quarterfinals.
“I really don’t know how I pulled it off,” the fifth-seeded Harth said after beating fourth-seeded Owen Holland from Abington Heights, 0-6, 6-1, 6-2, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. “He had a phenomenal first set, and then I realized I definitely had to play better if I was going to win.”
Harth was one of three Wyoming Valley Conference singles players to reach the semifinals, joining the leaders of traditional powers Wyoming Seminary and Holy Redeemer, then was the only one of the three to win games in each set of Thursday’s semifinal losses.
As he was in the process of advancing to the second day of the singles tournament, Harth was aware that something special was at stake.
“All I kept thinking about in the third set is that Pittston Area is normally not known as a good tennis school,” Harth said. “I just kept thinking, ‘Hey, if I win, at least I’ll bring home something in tennis that most people haven’t.”
By then, Pittston Area had already reached the final day of the rain-delayed Class 3A team tournament. The Patriots won the WVC’s Class 3A Division in the regular season and posted a quarterfinal win last week to get there.
Delaware Valley ended the team portion of the season for Pittston Area by securing three points in straight sets in matches that began at Kirby Park Thursday morning, then had to be moved to the Wyoming Valley Indoor Courts in Kingston after one set because of weather.
Joe Noreika defeated John Romanowski, 6-4, 6-4, at third singles.
Delaware Valley swept the doubles with Chris Vibert-Peter Wilson beating Joe Carey-Nick Maglio, 6-2, 6-0, and Andy Greene-Matt Lombardo beating Peter Fox-Thomas Dessoye, 6-1, 6-1.
Harth met Reese on consecutive days.
It was Reese who knocked Harth out of the singles semifinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory Wednesday.
Harth won twice and Costello once when the singles tournament got started Tuesday.
Between a first-round bye and the quarterfinal upset of Holland, Harth defeated Scranton’s Niatik Butani, 6-1, 6-0.
Costello opened with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Wallenpaupack’s John Squatrito, then lost to eventual champion Kevin Zheng from Williamsport, 6-1, 6-2.
Both Wyoming Area entries lost their first match in the Class 2A singles tournament.
Tunkhannock’s Vitto Sica outlasted Nick Perry, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1. Alex DeRome from Dallas defeated Justin Alder from Wyoming Area, 6-2, 6-1.
District 2’s final tournament, doubles, is scheduled for the upcoming week. Early round action starts Wednesday at Kirby Park at 9 a.m. and continues into the afternoon until the semifinalists are determined. The semifinals and finals are back at Kirby Park Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m.
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