HERSHEY — Familiarity with your opponent can be a good thing.
Camp Hill’s Josh Pantaloni and Trinity’s Adam Warren have played each other four times this year alone, but Warren won the biggest meeting of them all, at least so far. In a must-win match, Warren came through as he defeated Pantaloni 6-1, 6-3 at Hershey Racquet Club in the District 3 Boys Tennis Singles Class 2A third-place match to earn the final spot in the PIAA tournament.
“We split the regular season matches, and he got me in the Mid-Penn’s, so this was our fourth match this season,” Warren said. “We are closely matched and sometimes you could flip a coin.
“[I] qualified last year in doubles, so I was really excited about wanting to make it in singles to see how I do.“
Both sprung upsets Friday to reach the District 3 Class 2A semifinals. Each was in the final four but needed to spring a huge upset over the top two seeds in the semis. Both Warren and Pantaloni dropped straight-set matches and to set up their fourth meeting.
A pair of locals make up the final four heading into Saturday’s District 3 Class 2A Boys Ten…
Warren won the first set 6-1 as unforced errors were the difference. Pantaloni struggled through service issues and consistency in keeping the ball in play. Warren did a better job not forcing the play.
Warren jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Pantaloni showed some fight and battled to win two consecutive games to cut the deficit to 4-3. Several unforced errors and a hold serve, and Warren was playing for the match. Two long hits and a sweeping back hand, and Warren was able to walk away with the win.
“It was a tough tournament and Rebert played very well in the first match,” Pantaloni said. “Warren and I are pretty evenly matched, but today was his day. I just didn’t play that well today, but no, I wouldn’t have done anything differently today.”
Pantaloni faced top-seeded Jonah Rebert, of Lancaster Country Day, who has not dropped a set all year. The Camp Hill sophomore struggled early and Rebert broke serve, but Josh rallied to win a game and also hit many solid shots in rallies.
But the LCD finalist from last year seemed to get to every shot and return the ball. Rebert won 6-1, 6-1. Pantaloni put up a battle despite aggravating an Achilles injury which forced him to step gingerly several times.
Warren and Lancaster Catholic’s Brendan McNamara served and volleyed back and forth, but also endured many unforced errors.
McNamara rallied to win the first set 7-6 (4) in the tiebreaker and fell behind 3-0 in Set 2 before he rallied to win six of the next seven games to secure the match 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Rebert knocked off McNamara 6-2, 6-1 in the championship match.
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