Area tennis players moving on to districts

Lakeview’s Eric Rohrabaugh and Zach Teffner exceeded expectations of the Division II boys tennis sectional tournament in Boardman on Wednesday and extended their seasons by another week.

The sophomore and freshman duo played tough matches against Ursuline’s Dante Rossi and Brandon Schmetterer and John F. Kennedy’s Danielle Covelli and Billy Phillips before upsetting th third-seeded Jacob Kempe and Jack Highham of Cardinal Mooney to make it to the semifinals and clinch a spot in the district tournament.

“I knew they had three tough matches, and they needed to rise to the occasion,” Lakeview coach Stephanie Hickey said. “They prevailed. We’re very proud of them – quite an accomplishment for a freshman and a sophomore.”

Hickey was particularly impressed with the pair’s win over Kemp and Higham in the quarterfinal, which Rohrabaugh and Teffner won, 6-2, 6-4. She said that along with playing well, they didn’t get down on themselves, even when making mistakes.

Up next for Rohrabaugh and Teffner is Poland’s Ryan Calcagni and Anthony Riccardi, whom they will play on Saturday at Boardman Tennis Center.

“They played aggressive,” Hickey said. “They limited their unforced errors, served well and hit good returns. That’s all I asked of them, and they did amazing, to be honest.”

Kennedy’s big three – singles player Jad Abdul-Aal and doubles pair of Tyler Cole and John Nader – cruised through their matches to advance to the semifinals and punch their tickets to the district tournaments. Cole and Nader lost just one game in their two matches, and Abdul-Aal lost just two games. The senior singles player beat Ursuline’s Nick Bruno and United’s Devin Minard with scores of 6-0, 6-1 and blanked Struthers’ Todd Wilkos 6-0, 6-0.

For them, it’s all about seeding at the districts. Getting into the final round on Saturday will ensure a higher seed in the district tournament.

“They cruised,” Kennedy coach Joe Marino said. “I don’t see anyone touching Cole and Nader. I’d be shocked if they lose in the championship. They’ve played very well and Jad, too. The three of them have a very good chance of getting out of here really high (seeded).”

A teammate might join the Kennedy trio in the district tournament.

Caelan Phillips, who played doubles during the regular season and team tournaments, advanced to the quarterfinals after beating United’s Tucker Widlicka, Field’s Brad Losey and Cardinal Mooney’s Ross Lanzo. Up next for the sophomore is freshman and fourth-seeded Les Horvath of Ursuline today.

“He’s got a good chance (of going to districts),” Marino said. “We would have two singles and a doubles team – four out of seven (players on our team). That would be awesome.”

Lakeview’s Aaron Paczak is another area player in the quarterfinals and will play for a spot in the district singles tournament today. The second-seeded player in the tournament dispatched Salem’s J. W. Linam and Kennedy’s Daniel LaPolla. He faces Ravenna No. 1 Seth Stennett.

The singles tournament’s No. 1 seed, Garrett Gardner of Poland, advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Justin Vaughn of Crestwood. Cardinal Mooney’s Rich Hill and Andrew Stille also advanced to the semifinals of the doubles tournament, where they will take on Cole and Nader.