BOYS TENNIS: Dragons bow out of PIAA Elite Eight

HERSHEY – Warren’s boys tennis team had a very similar season to last season, which isn’t a bad thing considering the group has already won another District 10 team title, singles title and doubles title.

The bad news: the Dragons, after another PIAA first-round round victory this year, lost in the quarterfinals to the reigning Class AA state championship team from Wyomissing.

The Dragons had won 15 straight matches and their last loss was to the same Wyomissing team in last year’s state quarterfinals.

“It appears that they are on track to reclaim the title again this year,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch, whose Dragons had lost just five matches this season prior to losing 5-0 on Friday.

“Our boys put up a great battle today,” said Bartsch. “All five matches were played simultaneously at the Hershey Racquet Club. Though the scores don’t indicate it, we played a whole lot better this year than we did last year with this team. Our Dragons were spirited as they attacked at every opportunity.”

District singles champ Shane Burns fell to last year’s state finalist, 6-0, 6-0.

“Shane fought hard and there were some great long rallies,” said Bartsch. “Ricardo Saad is a top-flight player who has an all-court game. I was proud of Shane in his effort today.”

Sophomore Nate Sandberg, in his first foray into the singles arena at the state level, battled Andre Fick, another outstanding player with regional and national exposure.

“Nate battled hard and fell 6-0, 6-1,” said Bartsch.

Senior standout Matt Sandberg had the most spirited match of the day with Rodrigo Saad, the younger brother of Ricardo in second singles.

“This was a great battle,” said Bartsch. “Matt used his athleticism and size to get around the court, getting to almost every ball and making his opponent work hard and harder to get the points.” Saad prevailed 6-2, 6-3.

Warren’s doubles pair of Grayson Foley and Nick Tarpenning fought, but fell to a well-trained pair of Trifoi and Davis, 6-0, 6-3. Seniors Liam Boger and Ylli Bakalli fell 6-0, 6-1 to a strong pair of Pottieger and Heck.

There were only two undefeated teams at states this year – Warren and Wyomissing. The Dragons will return to the PIAA singles and doubles championships next week.

“We have 10 seniors who have completed outstanding tennis careers,” said Bartsch.