Delays can’t stop Dallas tennis from reaching District 2 championship match

By Tom Robinson - For Times Leader
Dallas’ Alex DeRome was leading his singles match in the third set when the Mountaineers clinched the team victory. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Dallas sophomore Dom Rizzo eyes up the ball during a semifinal match against Holy Cross on Thursday at the Wyoming Valley Indoor Tennis Club in Kingston. Rizzo won his singles match against Camus Howie. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader

KINGSTON — Dallas changed venues, starting times and even playing surfaces while moving from outdoor to indoor courts to finally get in its District 2 Class 2A semifinal match late Thursday afternoon.

One thing remained unchanged for the Mountaineers — their status as the only unbeaten boys tennis team in District 2.

Dallas will carry that record into the Friday morning district championship match after getting through a long day – and a long match – to turn aside Holy Cross, 3-0, at the Wyoming Valley Indoor Tennis Club.

Already playing six days later than originally scheduled, Dallas wound up starting more than two hours late, then enduring a match that lasted longer than that until No. 1 singles player John Toussaint secured the point that finally clinched a spot in the district final.

That final — originally scheduled for May 4, then moved to May 7 and May 10, appears likely to be contested the morning of May 11 after another day of weather-related delays, with strong winds, occasional rain and the threat of impending storms, shortened the schedule.

Dallas will take on Scranton Prep, winner of four of the previous five titles, at 9 a.m. Friday at Kirby Park.

The District 2-4 Class 3A tournament was completed with its two final rounds, leaving Williamsport as champion, and Scranton Prep had already qualified for the final before Dallas and Holy Cross finally took to the courts.

“It really kind of threw the whole day off,” Dallas coach Joe Pugliese said. “It’s a long day, but this is what it’s like when you go through tournament tennis.

“You’re going to run through days like this.”

By the time the Mountaineers started their competitive day, Pittston Area had been knocked out in Class 3A and Wyoming Seminary was gone in Class 2A, leaving Dallas the conference’s last team standings.

Action moved from Kirby Park to Wyoming Valley Indoor after one set of play in each of the matches of the Class 3A semifinals that started at 9 a.m.

“What was good was that most of them did stay upstairs watching the previous matches,” Pugliese said. “It actually helped them a little bit to get a little psyched about being out here.”

Dom Rizzo, at third singles, and the team of Mark Roginski and Matt Dillon, at second doubles, quickly gave Dallas a 2-0 lead before a new type of waiting game began.

More than an hour passed as the Mountaineers sought the clinching third point as two Holy Cross singles players and one doubles team put up a valiant fight, extending their simultaneous close matches into third sets.

Rizzo defeated Camus Howie.

“He’s been dominant at number-three singles this year,” Pugliese said. “He’s just that type of player that most people are going to hate to play.

“He’ll always keep the ball in play, can move people around and really wear people down.”

Roginski and Dillon overpowered Jake Wiercinski and Dominick Arbie, 6-0, 6-0.

“Number-one doubles has really been my strong point this year,” Pugliese said. “I have enough talent and go deep enough that I was able to put guys there that are real aggressive players that can take over the net.

“Mark Roginski has a really good serve. That helps the doubles manage to really pick off a lot of points at the net.”

Toussaint and second singles player Alex DeRome each overcame first-set losses while the second doubles team of Ryan Huester and Joey Lennon lost the last three games of the second set after moving within two games of the clinching win.

The win came when Toussaint finished off a 7-5 win over Logan Gregory in the third set.

“I was just playing the point that I was on,” Toussaint said. “The fact that that was the match-winning point, that’s even better, but it’s just a plus because I was able to play my game.”

As the match progressed, each point and each game seemed to grow in length.

“His serve is amazing and it’s very fun to play against him,” said Toussaint, who bounced back from a mild upset loss in Tuesday’s district singles quarterfinals. “It’s always a challenge.”

Now, the Mountaineers are in position to face another challenge with a district title and state team tournament berth on the line.

DISTRICT 2-4 CLASS 3A SUBREGIONAL SEMIFINAL

Delaware Valley 3, Pittston Area 1

SINGLES — 1. Tomas Reese (DV) led Nick Harth 6-0, 6-5 (match halted); 2. Matt Costello (PA) def. Abhay Byadgi 6-0, 6-1; 3. Joe Noreika (DV) def. John Romanowski 6-4, 6-4.

DOUBLES — 1. Chris Vibert/Peter Wilson (DV) def. Joe Carey/Nick Maglio 6-2, 6-0; 2. Andy Greene/Matt Lombardo (DV) def. Peter Fox/Thomas Dessoye 6-1, 6-1.

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 2A SEMIFINALS

Scranton Prep 3, Wyoming Seminary 2

SINGLES — 1. Jack Habeeb (SP) def. Will Ziegler 6-4, 6-2; 2. Rhys Kelly (SP) def. Duncan Lumia 7-1, 7-6 (7-5); 3. Jeff Tang (WS) def. Matt Tressler 6-0, 6-4.

DOUBLES — 1. Keffer Wu/Jacob Shoemaker (WS) def. Jesse Farley/Dan Zych 6-1, 6-4; 2. Addi Singh/Harrison Oven (SP) def. Tommy Dang/Rounak Lele 6-3, 6-1.

Dallas 3, Holy Cross 0

SINGLES — 1. John Toussaint (Dal) def. Logan Gregory 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 7-5; 2. Alex DeRome (Dal) led Curry Chang 3-6, 6-3, 3-0 (match halted); 3. Dom Rizzo (Dal) def. Camus Howie, 6-2, 6-2.

DOUBLES — 1. Mark Roginski/Matt Dillon (Dal) def. Jake Wiercinski/Dominick Arbie 6-0, 6-0; 2. Joe Fioti/Pat Yurish (Dal) led Ryan Huester/Joey Lennon 7-5, 4-6, 4-3 (match halted).

Dallas’ Alex DeRome was leading his singles match in the third set when the Mountaineers clinched the team victory.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL051118Tennis2-1.jpgDallas’ Alex DeRome was leading his singles match in the third set when the Mountaineers clinched the team victory. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Dallas sophomore Dom Rizzo eyes up the ball during a semifinal match against Holy Cross on Thursday at the Wyoming Valley Indoor Tennis Club in Kingston. Rizzo won his singles match against Camus Howie.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL051118Tennis1-1.jpgDallas sophomore Dom Rizzo eyes up the ball during a semifinal match against Holy Cross on Thursday at the Wyoming Valley Indoor Tennis Club in Kingston. Rizzo won his singles match against Camus Howie. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader