Saved by rain, Wyomissing’s Trifoi crowned Berks singles champion

To continue a reign, Dan Trifoi was desperate for rain.

The Wyomissing senior was admittedly on the ropes, down 2-1 in the decisive third set of the Berks singles final to Exeter’s Jonah Buczewski on Tuesday at Gov. Mifflin.

“I prayed for rain. I honesty did,” Trifoi said. “I knew it was in the forecast, and I know it sounds absurd, but I was praying the match would be postponed. (Tuesday) I was playing so poorly I knew I couldn’t beat him. All I could do was hope for a miracle.”

It came – a five-minute downpour enough to drench the courts – and so did a rebirth of Trifoi’s chances at giving Wyomissing its seventh straight Berks singles championships.
Trifoi brought his best in Wednesday’s continuation, rattling off four straight games before staving off Buczewski’s rally and overcoming seven missed match points to prevail, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the flight No. 1 final.

Exeter's Jonah Buczewski follows through on a serve during the Berks tennis tournament on April 27 at Gov. Mifflin. (Austin Hertzog - Digital First Media)
Exeter’s Jonah Buczewski follows through on a serve during the Berks tennis tournament on April 27 at Gov. Mifflin. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Trifoi follows past Wyomissing champions Ricardo Saad (2010-13) and Andre Fick (2014-15), both of whom have PIAA Class AA titles to their name.

Following that level of success – and the Spartan programs’ success in general – wasn’t doing Trifoi any favors to start the final.

“That was the pressure I was putting myself under,” he said. “Ricardo won four straight years, Andre won two. I was destined to be next so I put so much pressure on myself to win that I couldn’t perform.”

It resulted in Buczewski rolling through the first set 6-2, before Trifoi grinded out the second set by upping his consistency and gaining the measure of the Eagles’ No. 1’s lefty serve.
Buczewski, who fell to Trifoi in last year’s semifinals, 6-2, 7-6 (6), was on his way to a 3-0 lead in the third, but Trifoi managed to pull out the third game to keep the match within reach.

“I’m sure he’s very upset with the rain delay,” Trifoi said. “He would have had me in the third set, done and dusted. But the rain saved me.”

“The ending yesterday was frustrating so I was a little rattled,” Buczewski said. “But I kept telling myself to not worry about it, that it’ll be a fresh start. Your legs are going to be fresh and you’re going to be good to go.”

Trifoi defended exceptionally upon the match resuming – the conditions on the cloudy day played slower and with less bounce, which played into Trifoi’s favor – while Buczewski didn’t have the measure of his approach shots.

“Everything felt good. I thought I was constructing points well. It was just the finishing shot or the shot that I wanted to come in behind or put the ball away was off in the beginning,” Buczewski said. “It wasn’t fully consistent through that last set. A few more balls in play I think I would have kept it closer or even brought it back.”

The rain the day before made Trifoi believe he was destined to win.

“‘Whatever happens, you never give up,’ and that’s the attitude I kept the entire match,” he said. “I had to find a way to beat him. It was almost like a movie scene that the rain comes down and I’m saved.

“That’s probably why I was so comfortable (Wednesday). This is a sign that this is my match and I have to win it. I was offered a second chance.”

He needed more than two chances to close it out while seeing Buczewski cut his lead to 5-4, including a service game where Buczewski dug out from a 0-40 hole.

Instead Trifoi was able to recreate a moment he witnessed a number of years earlier.

“I’ve always had my eye on winning this. Coming from such a successful program, it’s what everyone dreams of. I remember sitting as a freshman watching Ricardo play out a third set. Ricardo’s down a break in the third set and he comes back and wins the match. It was like, ‘I want to be there some day.’”

Wednesday – not Tuesday – was that day.

Both players will move on to the District 3 Championships – Trifoi in AA, Buczewski in AAA – set for Saturday, May 7 at Hershey Racquet Club.

Buczewski isn’t planning on letting the league setback deter him in districts.

“I’m disappointed. I definitely think I could have done better,” he said. “But I like to keep a positive mentality. It’s good to use the bad stuff to push yourself forward. I’m going to stay hungry and do damage in districts and keep my head up.

* * *

Both players were back in action for the doubles semifinals later Wednesday. Results were unavailable at 9 p.m.

* * *

In other flight results:
Berks Catholic senior Kyle Zeller edged Schuylkill Valley senior Evan Whitmoyer 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2; Reading junior Nick Arroyo defeated Wilson junior Noah Levine 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3; Wyomissing junior Ben Croft beat Conrad Weiser junior Quincy Pettis 6-3, 6-0 at No. 4.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply