A strong regular season against a tough schedule had perfectly prepared the Skaneateles boys tennis team for what it would face during last week’s Section III Class C-1 tournament at SUNY-Cortland.
Not only did the Lakers face the challenge, it conquered, winning the team championship by earning victories in both doubles divisions with the teams of Ryan Bailey and Matt Benson and Jack Lawson and Anthony Panasci, plus third singles thanks to Dan Judge.
In first doubles, Bailey and Benson were the top seeds. They beat Kevin Ciulla and Hunter Stevens (Little Falls) 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and then, in the semifinals, handled Holland Patent’s Tucker Garrett and Owen Williams 6-2, 6-2, though it helped that Garrett and Williams went through a three-set battle in the previous round.
And that led to the final, pitting Bailey and Benson against Canastota’s Zach Blanchard and Evan Burbank. Each side could claim a “Killer B” moniker, but it was the Skaneateles pair finishing on top, Bailey and Benson taking the first set 6-1 and then closing out Blanchard and Burbank 6-4 in the second set.
Over in second doubles, Lawson and Panasci were also top seeds and also needed three matches to prevail. After beating Jack Drejza and Joe Pasucci (Clinton) 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, Lawson and Panasci rolled again, 6-2, 6-1, over Little Falls’ Josh Larsen and Peter Whitney in the semifinals.
The final here nearly resembled first doubles, except that Lawson and Panasci did drop a game in the first set against Manlius-Pebble Hill’s Keerthi Martyn and Dan Mezzalingua, but the final scores read 6-1, 6-4 in the Lakers’ favor.
Judge was triumphant in third singles. With a bye straight into the semifinals, Judge defeated Matt Vohid (Little Falls) 6-0, 6-1, setting up a tense final against Manlius-Pebble Hill’s Charlie Mann.
Though Mann won the first set in a tie-breaker 7-6, Judge stayed calm, pulled out a tough second set 6-4 and then blanked Mann 6-0 in the third set for the title.
Connor Driscoll lost his second singles semifinal to MPH’s Dan Braverman 6-3, 6-4, but he recovered to win the third-place match, outlasting Holland Patent’s Zak Odrzykowski in a 7-5, 6-1 decision, Joe Ausio drew Holland Patent’s Chris Gaige in the first round and lost, 6-1, 6-1, to the eventual champion.