Punxsutawney tennis team edges Crusaders, 5-4

ST. MARYS – The Punxsutawney Chucks tennis team edged the Elk County Catholic Crusaders by a 5-4 score Thursday afternoon at Benzinger Park.“It was a tough day today, losing a close match to a talented, well-coached Punxsy team,” said ECCHS coach Nick Caggiano.“A couple of things hurt us today, one being two of our singles players were unable to attend and, of course, the rained-out practices didn’t help, but nonetheless, I thought we played well. The other aspect that held us back today was mentally, during a few matches we just weren’t there. That’s something we’re going to have to improve, being 100 percent invested in the moment, no matter what the situation or scoreline. I have no doubt we’ll improve in that area,” said Caggiano.At first singles, Punxsy’s Dave Roberts beat Shane Mancuso 6-2, 6-1.At second singles, Elk’s Ben Wortman defeated Brandon Bish 6-2, 6-1.At third singles, Adam Murdock of the Chucks downed Nate Dattoli 6-4, 6-3.At fourth singles, Mike Blose of Punxsy defeated Jon Leuschel 6-1, 7-5.Tim Pearce of the Chucks defeated Darren Simons 6-4, 6-4 at fifth singles.Ben Wortman and Shane Mancuso of ECC lost 8-5 at first doubles.ECC’s Scott Krellner and Darren Simons defeated Jake Palaschak and Matt Weaver 8-6 at second doubles.At third doubles, ECC’s Nate Dattoli and Tyler Herzing defeated Ed Serafini and Nick Roberts 9-7.Kyler Breakey and Scott Reichard of the Crusaders defeated Anthony Pasuzzo and Joe Roberts 8-6 at fourth doubles.“We have a talented group of guys on this team who are capable of doing great things this season. We can definitely bounce back with some wins,” added Caggiano.The Crusaders, now 1-1 on the season, will travel across town this afternoon to take on the St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen at the SMAHS courts in a match scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.