PHILADELPHIA-- St. Joseph's Prep will reign as champs for yet another season as the Hawks sealed their second-straight Philadelphia Catholic League tennis title with a 3-2 victory over La Salle College High School. This is the Hawks’ second PCL tennis title since 2006 and the first under head coach Joe Boyle. With this win SJP also clinches a perfect 9-0 record on the season.
It was a beautiful Monday afternoon on May 2nd at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Center as St. Joseph’s Prep faced off against La Salle with the PCL tennis title on the line. The Hawks entered the contest as the top seed in the playoffs after going undefeated in the regular season, while La Salle sat as the second seed with a 7-1 league record.
With the bright Spring sun hanging high and hot overhead, fiery competition on each court appropriately matched the balmy forecast. The Hawks picked up the first points of the afternoon, securing victory on court three as SJP’s Connor Kryst defeated Drew Pensabene in straight sets (6-2) (6-0).
Their next points would come shortly after their first win as SJP came up big on court four in the first Doubles matchup with Dwyer Barrett & Jordan Sztejman defeating Joe Perry & Chris DelPlato in straight sets (6-2) (6-1). While the Hawks got off to a strong 2-0 lead, things were actually much closer than the overall score let on.
On court one in the first singles matchup, SJP’s Peter Bae surrendered the opening set (6-3) to La Salle’s Matt Porcea. Meanwhile on court five in the second doubles matchup, La Salle’s Andrew Gaylord & Harrison Haviland took the opening set over SJP’s Sam Seneca & JP Hayden (6-2).Things were beginning to look challenging for SJP and it soon became apparent that if the Hawks wanted to win, it would have to come on the back of Luke Gallagher in the second singles match. Despite the building pressure, Gallagher took care of business defeating La Salle’s Matt Sasso (6-2) (6-2) to secure the Hawk’s second-straight PCL tennis title.
Gallagher’s victory would prove to be entirely necessary as La Salle picked up victories in the first singles matchup with Matt Porcea defeating SJP’s Peter Bae (6-3) (7-5) and in the second doubles matchup as Andrew Gaylord & Harrison Haviland defeated SJP’s Sam Seneca & JP Hayden (6-2) (4-6) (6-3). This was the first time all season that St. Joseph’s Prep surrendered more than one point to an opponent, which just goes to show the importance of Gallagher’s victory.
The Prep is not done yet. The Hawks continue on their road to the state finals after winning the PIAA District 12 3A Championship on May 12th against Central High School.
The Hawks defeated the Lancers 5-0 and advance to the first-round of state playoffs on Tuesday, May 17th.
La Salle’s Matt Porcea def SJP’s Peter Bae (6-3) (7-5)
SJP’s Luke Gallagher def La Salle’s Matt Sasso (6-2) (6-2)
SJP’s Connor Kryst def La Salle’s Drew Pensabene (6-2) (6-0)
SJP’s Dwyer Barrett & Jordan Sztejman def La Salle’s Joe Perry & Chris DelPlato (6-2) (6-1)
La Salle’s Andrew Gaylord & Harrison Haviland def SJP’s Sam Seneca & JP Hayden (6-2) (4-6) (6-3)