SC’s Josephs beats Allender in final
The names were the same, but the results were different.
Four years ago, State College’s Cooper Josephs, then a freshman, lost the District 6 Class AAA tennis singles championship to Altoona senior Josh Allender.
Josephs and Allender met again Saturday, but this time it was Altoona sophomore Chad Allender who was matched against Josephs and the State College senior came out on top, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, at the Leopold Center.
“I lost to his brother my freshman year,” Josephs said. “Of course, it’s not the same person, but it was cool to win my senior year playing his brother.”
Only a sophomore, Allender, the No. 3 seed, overcame a 4-3 deficit by winning three straight games to grab the first set, 6-4.
“He had the crowd behind him,” Josephs said. “I was trying to hit too many winners and wasn’t playing the point. I was trying to finish it quickly. I wasn’t smart and wasn’t thinking.”
Josephs, the top seed, regained his composure, though, to take the next two sets and the match.
“I started hitting through my shots, started opening up the court,” Allender noted, “and then his overall experience and ground shots overpowered my ability to keep the ball in play.
“He was just a more skilled player today.”
Josephs said a change in strategy turned the match in his favor.
“I was hitting more to his forehand in the beginning,” the SC senior said. “Once I started hitting to his backhand I started playing more to the points.
“I started relaxing, coming to the net and being more aggressive,” Josephs continued. “In the beginning, I wasn’t focusing and relaxing. Whenever I’m tense, I miss a lot. Once I settled in, I was fine.”
Chad Allender said he was on hand four years ago when brother Josh beat Josephs. Josh was there to cheer on Chad yesterday.
“Basically, he told me how to beat him,” Chad Allender said of his brother’s advice, “but, I couldn’t capitalize today.
“I tried to keep the ball deep because if I hit the ball short he was able to put the ball in the corners and I wasn’t able to get to them.”
Josephs, who qualified for the PIAA state tournament May 24 in Hershey, also won the District 6 singles title as a sophomore. He also was runnerup twice.
Sophomore Allender was a starter on the Mountain Lion soccer team last fall.
“Soccer helped a lot with my speed and footwork and, hopefully, I’ll do better next year,” he added.
Issac Eck, a sophomore from Juniata, won the Class AA title by beating Jeremy Burnheimer of Westmont Hilltop, 6-0, 6-0.