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Owen J. Roberts’ Smith, Miller claim PAC doubles title

GRATERFORD >> Owen J. Roberts’ top-seeded duo of Holden Smith and Brandon Miller withstood some stiff opposition to capture the Pioneer Athletic Conference doubles championship that concluded Monday afternoon at Perkiomen Valley High School.

Smith, a junior, and Miller, a senior, combined to defeat Methacton’s second-seeded team of Subhanik Purkayastha and Alan Shen, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the final.

Despite heavy winds and chilly conditions, a lot of quality tennis was played throughout the second day of the tournament. Opening rounds were played indoors Friday at the Kinetix Sports Club.

The top three teams in Class AAA will advance to the District 1 Tournament this Friday and Saturday at Healthplex in Delaware County. The two finalists will be joined by the Spring-Ford team of TJ Cruickshank and Malchu Pascual, which won the third-place match over Phoenixville’s Mike Ellis and Graham Light, 6-3, 6-2.

Phoenixville’s Graham Light, left, hits a backhand volley as teammate Mike Ellis looks on during the PAC doubles tournament Monday at Perkiomen Valley. (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

In Class AA, the PAC will be represented by the Upper Perkiomen duo of Jake Vogel and Josh Landis.

“I definitely think the tiebreaker was really important,” said Smith, who also captured the PAC singles title two weeks ago. “We just pulled together and won the first set.”

Trailing early on, Owen J. Roberts won some pivotal points with some big serves and ground strokes to pull even at 5-all in the first set. The Wildcats took momentum from that point on to complete the first set and then maintained momentum during the second set.

Spring-Ford’s Malchu Pascual, rear, hits a backhand as partner TJ Cruickshank plays the net during the PAC doubles tournament Monday at Perkiomen Valley. (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

The wind was particularly strong at the outset of play, but all the players maintained their focus and made some key shots despite the elements and conditions.

Owen J. Roberts, especially Miller, converted some big drop shots on return volleys that helped prove critical in the final outcome.

“I scooped up whatever I could,” said Miller. “I stayed as solid as I could to be away from them for Holden to put away.”

This was the first tournament Miller ever won during his scholastic career, and it came at a most appropriate time at the end of his senior year.

In the semifinals, Smith/Miller defeated Spring-Ford’s TJ Cruickshank/Malchu Pascual, 6-3, 7-5, while Purkayastha/Shen beat Phoenixville’s Mike Ellis/Graham Light in a tough three-setter, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Purkayastha and Shen are both seniors so they were glad to advance to the finals and to be moving on to district competition.

Methacton’s Alan Shen hits a backhand volley as partner Subhanik Purkayastha looks on during the PAC doubles tournament Monday at Perkiomen Valley. (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

Shen said it was the first major accomplishment of his scholastic career, which was also a great personal feeling.

Methacton won the fifth-place match against Perkiomen Valley 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. The Warriors’ Krishna Suraesh/Haisha Lanthanum won over PV’s Brad Dickerman/Ryan Shayer for fifth place.

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