The 2012 tennis season has been like deja vu all over again for senior Zach McDivitt and sophomore Aaron Paczak.
The Lakeview doubles team was put together last season by coach Stephanie Hickey and advanced to the Division II district tournament before falling one win short of state.
The duo played singles for most of this season (other than a 3-0 record in doubles) before Hickey put them back together again as a doubles team for the sectional tournament. They defeated Jay Linam and Andrew Pietrzak of Salem 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals before winning the sectional with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kennedy's Tyler Cole and John Nader.
The district tournament will be held starting Friday at 9 a.m. at Weis Park in Canton and conclude Saturday. The top four finishers will advance to state.
"They're (also) both my No. 1 and 2 singles players," Hickey said. "Last year we also had them in the district tournament. They both worked on their game very hard. As far as a doubles team they came together last year. They communicate well. They're going to be fine if they get a high percentage of their first serves in and return well. The goal is state. They were a few games away from state last year so they know what they need to do. They work really well as a team."
Both McDivitt and Paczak said it wasn't difficult to switch from singles to doubles in a short period of time.
"It's not that big of a transition," McDivitt said. "A lot of things are different from singles to doubles, but I come to the net a lot in singles so that helps in doubles."
"Not at all," Paczak said. "We even practiced together over the winter and summer, too."
The district tournament is far from a new thing for the duo, especially for McDivitt, who has made the event all four of his varsity seasons. He played with Alex Dager as a freshman, his brother Matt as a sophomore and Paczak the last two seasons.
"It's a great accomplishment for me and one of my personal goals," McDivitt said. "My freshman year I knew we would have a shot. It's the first time anybody has ever done it at Lakeview.
"It's kind of funny. My freshman year we were the 4 seed going into districts, as a sophomore we were the 3 seed, as a junior we were the 2 seed, and my senior year we're the No. 1 seed."
Hickey said McDivitt and Paczak have the ability to make state, which will be held starting Friday, May 25, at The Ohio State University courts.
"They did so well last year," Hickey said. "Zach has been to districts every year, all four years as a doubles player. He's an amazing doubles player. He has amazing hands at the net. We know they can advance further in doubles than in singles. Aaron has played a lot of USTA tournaments this year. He's dedicated himself."
Both Hickey and McDivitt agree the tournament draw favors a deep run and perhaps a district championship.
"The draw is the way we wanted it," Hickey said. "We're very fortunate as the 1 seed. We play the 4 seed from another section (Ron Beilinson and Josh Rapkin of Orange). We have a very good draw."
"We have a pretty decent draw," McDivitt said. "It's one of the best draws we could get for districts. All the teams down there are going to be good but hopefully we'll be able to overcome."