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West Chester Rustin doubles prevail in close battle with Vikings

West Goshen >> While host West Chester East swept all three of its singles matches with impressive straight set victories, visiting West Chester Rustin (2-2) came back with four straight set doubles wins for a razor-thin 4-3 victory Wednesday.
Rustin was led by senior Daniel Scoffone and junior Vijay Upadhyay, who won the first doubles match, 6-3, 6-1.
“They’re just good athletes who understand doubles concepts,” said Rustin head coach Billy McElroy. “Daniel was All-ChesMont American Division in soccer last fall; and Vijay also has played soccer.”
At second doubles, Rustin juniors Cam Benedetto and Shane McCune won by a score of 6-3, 6-2.
“They’ve been coming around well as a doubles team,” said McElroy. “They’re both solid, versatile players.
“Daniel, Vijay, Cam and Shane have been our most consistent performers. We’re rebuilding this season, and next year we get all of them back except for Daniel. Our singles players gave impressive effort today, and we’ll get back all three of them next year (junior Jack Benedetto, freshman Anish Arora and junior Nate Eskinder), so if we can add a few more pieces we can be right back in the (Ches-Mont) mix.”
Rustin completed its doubles sweep Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-1 win at third doubles by juniors Robbie Pileggi and Liam Grealy and a 6-3, 6-4 victory at fourth doubles by senior CJ McCune and junior Max Talerico.
Leading the way for the Vikings (2-2) Wednesday was sophomore Benjamin Gao at first singles, who won his match 6-1, 6-0 to improve his record to 3-0 (which includes a victory against Unionville’s Matt Miller). Last spring, Gao was a district qualifier in both singles and doubles.
“Ben is an extremely consistent and composed player, you can’t rattle him, nobody’s going to get into his head,” said West Chester East boys tennis head coach Mike Orenshaw. “He has a solid all-around game, and when he’s playing a top player, he stays composed the entire time and keeps on fighting.”
At second singles, East senior Kyle Finding, a lefthander and a team co-captain, earned a 6-2, 6-0 win to boost his record to 3-1.
“Kyle’s had kind of an interesting high school career,” said Orenshaw. “His freshman year was cut short because of COVID; he played well at first singles as a sophomore; last spring he broke his thumb and was out for most of the season then came back and qualified for district doubles; and this year is back at singles.
“Kyle is a very solid player, a great leader, and it’s great to see him back at singles. He and Ben made it to quarterfinals of district doubles last year, so it will be interesting to see what they can do as a doubles team later in the season.”
Rounding out the singles sweep for East was senior co-captain Maahir Tammara at third singles, who won, 6-2, 6-3.
“Maahir played doubles for us last year, is a very solid player. His consistency and movement have improved, which is a key in singles – getting around the court.
“I just think all of our singles players are just very, very consistent. They’ve all got the groundstrokes, the volleys, the all-around games to be able to win.”
The Vikings, who lost 16 seniors (including eight starters) to graduation last June, have defeated Oxford and Sun Valley this spring and lost to Unionville.

NOTES: While the Vikings lost Wednesday’s match by a 4-3 score, for District 1 team tournament seeding purposes it counts as a 3-2 win for West Chester East.
McElroy said, “The district seeding meetings (for the District 1 team tournament) are based on the five-court format, the three singles and the top two doubles. The league champions are taken into the draw, but as an example let’s say Rustin was the league champion this year – because East beat us 3-2 today in the five-court format, they could be seeded ahead of us.”

West Chester Rustin 4, West Chester East 3
Singles: Ben Gao (WCE) def. Jack Benedetto (WCR), 6-1, 6-0; Kyle Finding (WCE) def. Anish Arora (WCR), 6-2, 6-0; Maahir Tammara (WCE) def. Nate Eskinder (WCR), 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles: Daniel Scoffone/Vijay Upadhyay (WCR) def. Yug Mittal/Jacob Vengal (WCE), 6-3, 6-1; Cam Benedetto/Shane McCune (WCR) def. Collin Whipple/Shravan Rajagopal (WCE), 6-3, 6-2; Robbie Pileggi/Liam Grealy (WCR) def. Cole Aubart/Daksh Shah (WCE), 6-1, 6-1; CJ McCune/Max Talerico (WCR) def. Neil Verma/Kshuanish Rajesh Kumar (WCE), 6-3, 6-4.

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