FHS knocks off BC
Bethlehem Catholic’s boys tennis team opened its season with 4-3 victories over Northampton on March 15 and 17, and 4-3 victories over Easton on March 19 and 22, suffering its first loss to Freedom, 2-5, last Tuesday at Becahi.
The Hawks’ match against the Patriots was its toughest of the season so far, with two top number one singles players, Curt Gruber and Noah Potts, going head-to-head.
Potts won last Tuesday, 7-5, 6-2, and the two friends will have met again this Tuesday at Freedom, past Press deadlines.
“We hit all the time together at Northwood so I knew it was going to be more of a chess game than normal because we know each others’ strengths and weaknesses,” Gruber said. “It was just a matter of execution today. And he served really well today, really had a lot of swing speed, pushed me around...He can take full advantage and open up the court, so full credit to him.”
While Potts was at the top of his game, Gruber wasn’t far behind.
“I think I had more racket head speed in the first set, and then I kind of dropped that off toward the end. I had a kind of bad service game at 5-all, which let him get the breaks to get the first set. I lost my momentum, was a little bit tired. I haven’t played a competitive match like this in awhile,” Gruber said. “But yeah, when I was playing well, I was hoping to slice and mix it up and try and mess him up, and he kind of caught on to that quickly, did what he could do, and ran away with it at the end.”
Coach Harmanos is looking forward to Gruber and Potts’ next match.
“Curt is playing really well. Unfortunately in our first four matches, he didn’t have much competition, so I think that affected him today to play against Noah who’s very good,” Harmanos said. “I know Noah had two tough matches against Liberty this week to get in that tennis mode, so hopefully Curt, having a tough match under his belt, will play better, but I think that made a big difference today.”
Becahi’s Armaan Makwana won at two singles over Arun Chhugani, 6-4, 6-3, and Freedom’s Advay Deshmukh won at three singles over Anthony Barczynski, 6-2, 6-3.
“The good news is I’ve got two highly-skilled tennis players who are among the best two kids around, Curt and Armaan. The not-so-good news is we’ve got to bring along Anthony, who has played well so far,” Harmanos said. “Today he lost, and this was his first loss, but he’s competed well this week and last week. So if we could bring him along to be a little bit stronger and our number two doubles to be a little bit stronger, then we can win a few more matches and then get a good seed for districts.”
At number two doubles for Becahi is Josh Maruscak and Dan Smith who lost to Shivam Chand and Dylan Sarkozy, 0-6, 0-6.
“Most of the doubles are new to each other and new to the sport of tennis,” said Harmanos. “It’s a process, and I’m sure by the end of the season, they’ll be a lot further along than they are now.”
Freedom’s Tommy Potts and Fahim Paiker won at three doubles over Zach Smalz and Patrick Core, 6-0, 6-0, and at four doubles, Freedom’s Baptiste Boussageon and Brian Gerra won by default.
Gruber and Makwana teamed up at one doubles to defeat Potts and Chhugani, 8-5.
Regarding the play of consecutive matches against the same team this season, Coach Harmanos is not a fan.
“It’s terrible, quite frankly,” he said. “First of all, there’s no reason why we should be playing every team twice [in the division], but to play them back-to-back in the same week, it wouldn’t be that hard for the scheduler to go through every team once and then go through again.”
Weather-related postponements are the only things that have disrupted the scheduling so far, as the Becahi-Freedom match was postponed on Friday due to extremely high winds. Beca will have played Liberty and Freedom will have played Northampton, both on Monday, before their rematch on Tuesday.