WILKES-BARRE – The top teams in District 2 Class AA boys tennis have been well-established for years.
Scranton Prep and Wyoming Seminary have been the top seeds from their respective conferences and gone on to meet in the championship match for nine straight years.
This season, the Dallas Mountaineers made their case as the clear best of the rest.
Dallas completed the team portion of its season Wednesday with a semifinal loss to eventual champion Scranton Prep in the District 2 tournament.
The Mountaineers reached the semifinals for the second straight season. Unlike 2015 when the semifinal appearance was the result of an upset win, avenging an earlier loss, Dallas was the third seed this season – and played like it.
Dallas went 10-1 in the Wyoming Valley Conference, losing only to Wyoming Seminary, the champion which was unbeaten until Wednesday’s district final loss to Scranton Prep at Kirby Park.
While Wyoming Seminary was rolling over Holy Cross in one semifinal, Dallas was showing the depth that made it successful in its battle with Scranton Prep.
Both Scranton Prep and Wyoming Seminary won the semifinals, 3-0. The difference was that when the undecided matches were halted with the team outcome determined, Dallas was in position to score points while Holy Cross was also behind in both matches.
Dallas led one doubles match and was tied in the other against Scranton Prep when the Cavaliers completed their singles sweep to advance to the final.
Anthony Brominski-Cameron Tuck were ahead of Rhys Kelly-Nick LaBelle, 6-2, 1-0. Joe Bevevino-Adam Niznik were tied with Sahil Garg-Jack Habeeb, 5-5.
“We were hanging in there with doubles,” Dallas coach Joe Pugliese said. “That’s what the depth of our team does for us.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any superstars so a very strong team like Scranton Prep is, we couldn’t hang in with their singles players.”
Pugliese said depth and experience were the reasons the team produced the best record in his six seasons as head coach.
All seven spots in the lineup – three singles players and two doubles teams – were filled by seniors who had also made up the entire starting lineup as juniors.
“The reason why we had such a good year is we had good depth on our team,” Pugliese said. “ … We have seven good players, which is rare to high school tennis.
“We won most of our matches because of that. How we won against tougher teams was both doubles teams won and then Anthony DeLuca won.
DeLuca went 11-0 in WVC play while moving throughout the first, second and third singles spots in the lineup.
Half of the Dallas WVC wins – against Berwick, Tunkhannock, MMI Prep, Holy Redeemer and Hazleton Area – came by 3-2 scores.
Niznik and Joe Bevevino went 10-1 while playing together at second doubles all season.
Tuck went 10-1 at first doubles. He often played with Anthony Brominski, who went 9-2 combined while playing in that spot and making some singles appearances.
The 10-1 record earned Dallas the third district seed and a quarterfinal home match Tuesday.
There, the Mountaineers used their winning formula.
Brominski-Tuck beat Zach Patterson-Jack Patterson, 6-3, 6-1, at first doubles. Joe Bevevino-Niznik beat Dominic Marchese-Mark Harrison, 6-1, 6-1, at second doubles.
DeLuca topped Russ Kudish, 6-2, 6-0, at first singles.
Jack Robbins and Frank Bevevino were behind but still battling in the first two singles spots when their teammates wrapped up the win.
The district singles tournament, with DeLuca seeded eighth and Brominski also playing, was scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The district tournament portion of the season concludes with the doubles tournament May 18-19.
Pugliese said the doubles lineup for districts is likely to be DeLuca-Frank Bevevino and Tuck-Joe Bevevino.
Champions of each district tournament advance to state play.
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