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Trojans reach doubles semi

No matter what the sport, fans, players and coaches always take a glance at the brackets and look for the best matchups later in the tournament. Looking at the District 11 doubles bracket, there was one potential match that loomed large. It was a potential semifinal match between Pleasant Valley and Parkland.

The Pleasant Valley duo of Jon White and John Walmach came in as the number two seed and Parkland's Nick Kshatri and Pete Harrison were the tournament's three seed. Both duos picked up convincing wins in their first three matches to lead them into their head-to-head pairing.

Right from the start, it was clear that the match was destined for three sets and was going to be hard-fought.

Pleasant Valley took the first set 7-6 by winning a tie-breaker, 7-5. Rather than hanging their heads, Kshatri and Harrison turned up the heat and grabbed a 6-3 win in the second set.

Set number three went back-and-forth until White and Walmach took two straight games to sneak into a 4-3 lead. From there, the duo seemed to sense the opportunity to put the match away, which they did by grabbing the final two games and a 6-3 win to advance to the tournament finals.

Kshatri, who was eliminated in the semifinals of the singles tournament, wasn't happy with how he played in the doubles match against Pleasant Valley and shouldered his share of responsibility for the loss.

"Peter played well, but I don't think that I played very well," Kshatri said after the match. "We gave it a shot and it went three sets, so it wasn't a blowout, but we just didn't play well enough, and I think that we just weren't aggressive enough. I think that we definitely had a shot and we just didn't execute well enough."

Harrison didn't find individual fault in either Kshatri or himself, but offered a tip of the cap to White and Walmach, who he knew coming in would be difficult to beat.

"We could have been a little more consistent," Harrison said. "I don't think that we played that badly, but we could have been better. They were just hitting pretty big out there. I'm not too upset because I think that we played pretty well."

The district postseason wraps up with the team tournament with the winner being crowned Saturday at Northwood Racquet and Fitness Club in Easton. The Trojans have been to the finals in each of the last 10 seasons and have six titles to show for their efforts, including having won the last two seasons. Once again, they're the top seed in the eight-team field and come in with a target on their back.

"I think we're just going to have to take one match at a time and see how it goes," said Harrison. "I think we're going to do well."

It remains to be seen if any of the other teams can knock Parkland out of the tournament either before the finals or at least keep them from winning gold again this season. Stroudsburg is seeded second, just ahead of Pleasant Valley, Emmaus and Freedom. Certainly, Kshatri and Harrison would like to see their team go up against Pleasant Valley for some revenge and that match would only come if both teams reach the finals.

"We've won team districts for two years in a row, so it's going to be fun," said Kshatri. "We're going to do well and I'm hoping for us to get first place. We haven't played Stroudsburg and we haven't played Pleasant Valley during the regular season. Stroudsburg is the second seed and they could be pretty tough and there's always Emmaus and Freedom."

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Parkland's Nick Kshatri returns a shot during the District 11 doubles tournament.