Loyalsock sweeps season series with narrow win

The top of the tennis standings are starting to break apart as Central Columbia and Lewisburg make their claims as the district’s top teams.

With losses to both schools, Loyalsock has remained just below those teams in the third spot. Monday’s league contest against Montoursville proved to be a pivotal one as Loyalsock swept the season series with a 3-2 win over the Warriors.

The Lancers have already qualified for the District 4 tournament and will get one more chance to take down Central Columbia.

“It was a tough match with Montoursville the first time and we knew it was going to be tough today,” Loyalsock coach Rick Zimmerman said. “They have a really good team. It was a nice test for us.”

Connor Rude won the first set of his No. 1 singles match off the strength of his serve and his ability to chase down long balls. He was also really good at the net, charging it and holding his spot as he returned quick shots.

Rude continued this steady play at the net in the second set, but struggled just about everywhere else after winning the first point. Stapp was quick to take advantage.

He won his initial point thanks to his serve, but continued to play well as he returned Rude’s serve throughout the third game to pick up his second point and take a 2-1 lead.

“I was looking at the past No. 1 and I didn’t want to lose in front of him,” Stapp said. “I just felt better and made better shots. I started to learn how the wind was working and just played better. I just turned it around and got better in my head.”

Rude won his first meeting of the season against Stapp as the Lancers picked up a 4-1 in the early portions of the schedule. Stapp appeared to pick something up from that match along with the first set as he seemed to have a counter for every shot Rude hit at him.

In the second set, after Rude made a nice charge at the net, Stapp pushed him back to the baseline and dropped a soft shot to the middle of the court for a point. Rude eventually dropped the game on a fault to give Stapp a 4-2 advantage in the set.

“You get into it, because you think if I push him back I can run to the net and shut him down,” Stapp said. “I was just popping the ball right over his head. It wasn’t a hard shot. I was trying to draw points out and get him to charge the net.”

Stapp won the next point with his serve, closing out the game with a hard shot at Rude as he charged the net. Rude hit the initial return at the net, but Stapp got a ball behind him on his return. Stapp won the second set to force a third, extending the match as the rain continued to threaten.

Rude’s serve continued to hurt him as Stapp built of his second set win to claim the first game on the third.

“For me I’ve been struggling mentally with tennis,” Stapp said. “I get worried and get in my own head. At the very end there I just had to shut it down and play slow and wait for him to make a mistake.”

Stapp was steady during the final game. He forced Rude into mistakes and walked away a 6-2 winner.

For Jake Bomboy, the season has been one of learning on the fly as he has adapted to playing tennis. Initially, Bomboy used his power to beat opponents. As they adjusted to the strength of his game, so did he.

Bomboy has learned to play with a combination of well placed shots and power. During his No. 2 singles match against Montoursville’s Ben Watts, he put more of a spin on his serve and found success with it.

“Using the slice more on the serve worked a little better,” Bomboy said. “It was about playing well and getting my shots in. Throughout the season it’s been working for me.”

Bomboy won the opening set 6-4 and outlasted Watts in the second to claime a 7-5 win to clinch the set and the match.

“They played the first time and it didn’t go Jake’s way,” Zimmerman said. “He’s really starting to show improvement for us.”

Loyalsock 3, Montoursville 2

SINGLES

1. Andrew Stapp (M) def. Connor Rude, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; 2. Jake Bomboy (L) def. Ben Watts, 6-4, 7-5; 3. Eli Ward (M) def. Quinn Dietrick, 6-4, 6-2.

DOUBLES

1. Ben Wescott/Ty Whitmoyer (L) def. Levi Miller/Max Krepps, 6-1, 6-1; 2. Alek Hamilton/Trace Haller (L) def. Greyson Simms/Aidan Morrow, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Records: Montoursville (5-5), Loyalsock (9-3). Next match: Montoursville at Lewisburg, Wednesday, 4 p.m.; Loyalsock at Bloomsburg, Wednesday, 4 p.m.

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