ERIE - The Warren boys tennis team had a record-breaking day on Saturday at the District 10 Singles Championships at the Pennbriar Club. Three Warren players were in the final four at the 39-player Class AA event.
"This is the first time Warren has had three players in the semifinals," said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch.
One of them - junior Shane Burns - will play on Monday in the District 10 singles final against Greenville's Chad Ferguson.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
Semifinals and beyond
Warren boys tennis players, from left, in front, Nathan Sandberg, Matt Sandberg, Shane Burns and Thomas Pellegrino advanced to at least the semifinals of the District 10 Class AA Boys Tennis Singles Championships on Saturday at the Pennbriar Club in Erie. Burns advanced to the final, which will be played on Monday. The District 10 champion will advance to states.
Burns, the second seed, defeated Ryan Campbell of Mercyhurst Prep, 9-7, Teven Vargo of Harbor Creek, 8-0, and Sean McErlane of Greenville, 8-0, in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Burns played teammate and fifth-seeded senior Thomas Pellegrino for a spot in Monday's final.
Pellegrino's route to the finals started with a 8-1 win over Nick Hesch of Harbor Creek, an 8-1 win over Derek Sawyer of General McLane, and an 8-3 quarterfinal victory over Nico Teran of Kennedy Catholic.
In the semifinal between the two Warren players, Burns won the first set in a tie-break.
"This was a well-played match by the two Warren boys," said Bartsch. "This was exceptionally good quality tennis."
The second set was won 6-4 by Burns with Shane moving on to Monday's 3:30 p.m. championship match at the Pennbriar Club in Erie.
"This was an exhausting match," said Bartsch. "The two boys battled hard as they would with any opponents. Their sportsmanship was simply outstanding. We couldn't have asked for anything more."
Junior Matt Sandberg and freshman brother Nathan Sandberg of Warren also had great runs into the tournament.
"Both Dragons won rounds in a qualifier tournament to get into the main draw," said Warren assistant coach Norm Dziendziel.
Matt defeated Rocky Grove's Maggie Prorock, 8-0, and Nathan defeated Mike Funero of Hickory, 8-1. Matt Sandberg then defeated Matt Detar of Harbor Creek, 8-1. In the main draw, Matt Sandberg received a No. 8 seed based upon his 18-0 record.
Following his two qualifier round wins, freshman standout Nathan Sandberg knocked off Hickory's top player in Corey Schurko with a dominant 8-3 performance.
"This was a huge win for the freshman," said Bartsch. "Schurko, a senior, is a strong baseliner with a solid game. Nate stuck with him with good groundies and won most of the long rallies today."
In the second round, Nathan Sandberg defeated the seventh-seeded Zane Wright of General McLane by a 8-5 score. "This win was an even bigger win for Nate as Wright was the last Erie County player to be eliminated from the event. Fairview's R.J. Petrella, the 2010 champion and last year's runner-up, did not play the event as he opted to play doubles only."
In the quarterfinals, Nathan Sandberg had a battle with the top-seeded Ferguson of Greenville, and bowed out with an 8-5 loss.
Matt Sandberg defeated Calleja of Sharpsville, 8-0, then Nick Scrimenti of Mercyhurst Prep, 8-2. In the quarterfinals, Matt Sandberg defeated Matt Welker of Grove City, 8-6. The semifinals saw Matt Sandberg across the net from Ferguson, who had defeated Matt's freshman brother.
"Matt dropped the match 6-2, 6-1 for his lone loss of the season," said Bartsch.
This is the first time the Dragons had three of the four semifinalists in the D10 Singles Championships.
"It was nice to look out at the courts and see a sea of blue on every court," said Gene Burns, father of finalist Shane Burns.
The last time a Dragon was in the D10 singles final was back in 2007 when Jeff Nuhfer won the singles championship. In addition to the Warren players, Conner Clendenen of Eisenhower played in the event.
Burns will go into the final with a 18-3 overall record.
"Last week, Shane dropped a tough 8-3 decision to Ferguson at the Tri-County Tournament in Sharon, hence the second seed for the Dragon," said Bartsch. "Shane played well on Saturday. He likes the surface at the Pennbriar and his game is suited for the venue. He will be ready for the match on Monday afternoon."