BG overcomes heat, Juniata to capture title

After playing most of its season in the cold, Tuesday’s heat nearly derailed the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic tennis team’s quest for a district championship.

Overcome by temperatures more than 80 degree, Nick Centar struggled to finish the second set of his match against Juniata’s Brad Lipka.

After a lengthy break between the second and third set, Centar returned to win the third set, clinching the District 6 Class AA team championship.

BG defeated the Indians 4-1 Thursday at Mansion Park.

“It was a medical timeout. We needed time for him to cool down and assess the situation for possible heat stroke,” BG coach Julie Donovan said. “It’s 10 to 15 degrees hotter on the court. We played the first part of our season in the cold and snow, and now we’re playing in the heat. It just goes to show how tough tennis players are.”

Both coaches agreed to give Centar some time and let him continue if he could, but he wasn’t about to end his high school tennis days watching from other side of the fence.

“I was thinking the whole time how I needed to get back out there and win it for my team,” Centar said. “It started to hit me in the second. I was completely drained, but I was able to start fresh and do what I did in the first set.

With BG already up 2-1 on wins by Dom D’Andrea and the doubles team of Dan Sullivan and Vincent D’Andrea, Centar downed Lipka, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 to clinch to title.

For good measure, Matt Keefer and Brennan Nale went on to win the second doubles match 6-3, 7-5 over Luis Pacheco and Jim Hemand.

District 6 singles champ Isaac Eck defeated Jim Burke, 6-1, 6-1 to put Juniata ahead 1-0. Dom D’Andrea then beat Brad Strawser 6-4, 6-1 to even the match 1-1.

Sullivan and Vincent D’Andrea put BG up 2-1 with a three-set win over Ricky Heck and Chantz Imes 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

“They did a great job coming back to win the third set after splitting the first two,” Donovan said.

BG advances to the first-round of the state playoffs for a match against Lancaster Mennonite Tuesday at the Leopold Courts.

SINGLES: 1, Eck, J, def. Burke, BG, 6-1, 6-1. 2, Centar, BG, def. Lipka, J, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1. 3, D. D’Andrea, BG, def. Strawser, J, 6-4, 6-1.

DOUBLES: 1, Sullivan/V. D’Andrea, BG, def. Heck/Imes, J, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. 2, Keefer/Nale, BG, def. Pacheco. Hemand, J, 6-3, 7-5.

Records: Juniata (9-2). Bishop Guilfoyle (16-0).