T-D HS Tennis

Katz 10
Westmont Hilltop’s Ben Katz, shown in a match from earlier in the season, picked up a key win as the Hilltoppers won a third consecutive District 6 Class AA championship.

It’s a three-peat for the Hilltoppers

By: BY JIM LANE

ALTOONA — It was a three-peat for the Westmont Hilltop tennis team.
Coach Mike Kush’s Hilltoppers captured their third consecutive District 6 Class AA team tennis championship with a 3-2 win over Juniata on Thursday afternoon at the Summit Tennis and Athletic Club.
Juniata had beaten Bishop Guilfoyle, 3-2, in the completion of their semifinal match earlier in the day.
“We knew going in before the match that it would be tough whether it was Juniata or BG,’’ Kush said. “We figured it would be 3-2, one way or the other, and every match was going to be contested. And, it was.’’
At No. 1 singles, Juniata’s Isaac Eck swept Jeremy Burnheimer, 6-1, 6-2, in a rematch of District 6-AA singles finalists. Andrew Rizkalla evened the score with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Logan Aurand at No. 2.
The teams also traded wins in the doubles. Westmont Hilltop’s Jon Wagner and Michael Arcurio bested Ricky Heck and Brad Lipka, 6-2, 6-2, but Juniata’s Brad Strouser and Chantz Imes made it 2-2 with a three-set win, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, over Eric Kmett and Steven Ziph. The Strouser-Imes duo got the win on the third match point.
“The second doubles was a thriller,’’ Kush said. “It could have gone either way.’’
That tied it at 2-2 and put the onus on No. 3 singles combatants, Ben Katz of Westmont and Luis Pacheco of Juniata. Katz was victorious in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to give the Hilltoppers the team trophy.
“I thought we had a slim advantage,’’ Kush said, “This is a server’s court here at the Summit Tennis Club and Ben (Katz) has a very good serve. I thought that would be an advantage to us.’’
It was.
Down 2-1 in games, Katz won five of the next six games to post a 6-3 victory.
“I’m very happy because we have a senior-dominated team,’’ Kush said. “We have six seniors, five of whom start, so I’m happy for the seniors.’’
Westmont will face Elco, the third-place finisher in District 3, in the first round of the PIAA State Team Tennis Tournament next Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Leopold Tennis Courts in Altoona.

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