By DICK VANOLINDA 505-5407 / @ydsports
GLEN ROCK — The hours of practice on warm days last summer prepared Susquehannock tennis players Kaltrin Bullaj and Dan Ferraro for the situation they found themselves in on a cool spring day.
With their team leading, 3-2, after the singles matches on Wednesday, Bullaj and Ferraro walked on to the court together for the No. 1 doubles match against York Catholic’s Adam Hack and Matt Koury.
The Warriors needed to win at least one of the two doubles matches to insure a victory in their showdown with the Fighting Irish. Both teams entered with 5-1 records in York-Adams Division II.
Bullaj and Ferraro delivered the deciding point, although their victory wasn’t quite as easy as the scores (6-2, 6-2) indicated. Hack and Koury were within, 3-2, in the first set before Bullaj and Ferraro ran off three straight games.
In the second set, the York Catholic duo fought off six match points before Bullaj ripped a wicked unreturnable forehand service return on the seventh match point.
York Catholic’s Sam Hernandez and Scott Bartkowiak captured the No. 2 doubles match for a final score of 4-3 in favor of the Warriors.
Susquehannock’s triumph, combined with Delone Catholic’s 6-1 victory over Hanover, gave the Warriors a share of the division title with the Squires.
Susquehannock shared the crown in 2012 with two teams: York Suburban and Biglerville.
“It feels good to win it (the division) again,” Bullaj said. “We really wanted sweatshirts (for winning the division title). Before we won it last year, it had been 10 years since Susquehannock won the (boys’) division.”
Bullaj teamed with Zach Hanson last year to capture the York-Adams Class AA doubles title. When Hanson graduated and went off to York College, Ferraro became Bullaj’s new doubles partner.
“Over last summer, we did doubles drills all the time,” Ferraro said. “Kaltrin’s a better player than me. He goes for his shots, and I just try to stay consistent.”
The game plan works perfectly for the Warriors’ duo. Bullaj looks for every opportunity to run around his forehand and crush a return. Ferraro remains consistent on the groundstrokes and displays a good touch at the net putting away volleys.
“They move well together on the court, and they’re friends off the court,” Susquehannock head coach Marianne Michels said. “I knew that Paige (York Catholic head coach Paige Mundy) has a good team, and I had a feeling there was going to be a doubles situation today (doubles deciding the match).”
Susquehannock carried the edge into doubles thanks to singles victories from Bullaj, Ferraro and Shane Bookhultz at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Bartkowiak and Tim Hartinger earned singles victories for York Catholic.
“Our No. 3 kid (Bookhultz), he made all the difference in the world,” Michels said. “He’s been a steady Eddie (model of consistency) all year for us. Plus he’s a left-hander, and a lot of people like to hit cross court, but that’s where he likes the ball to come (to his forehand).”
Susquehannock grabbed a piece of the division crown after losing its No. 2 and No. 3 players from last year’s team to graduation.
“Losing Zach and Jordan (Baublitz) really hurt,” Michels said. “To come back the way we did this year, I’m really proud of the kids.”
OTHER BOYS’ TENNIS
DALLASTOWN 7, DOVER 0: At Dallastown, the Wildcats won all five singles matches in straight sets to secure the York-Adams Division I victory. John Schmitt, Kyle Salaga, Payce Berridge, Nick Barley and Nick Jones each captured a singles victory for the Wildcats. Dallastown improved to 7-0 in the division and 12-1 overall. Dallastown clinched at least a share of the division crown. The Wildcats can win the outright crown with a win Monday vs. Central York at Dallastown.
SOUTH WESTERN 5, CENTRAL 2: At Hanover, the Mustangs captured four out of the five singles matches to capture the York-Adams Division I victory. Anthony Miserendino, Quin Meyer, Michael Fabrick and Ben Sentz each won a singles match for the Mustangs. For the Panthers, Chris Maderitz won a singles match. South Western improved to 6-1 in the division and 9-2 overall, while Central fell to 6-1 in the division and 7-3 overall.
NEW OXFORD 7, WEST YORK 0: At New Oxford, the Colonials captured all five singles matches in straight sets to secure the York-Adams Division I victory. Mike Gruver, Dwight Kessler, Joel Luckenbaugh, Alex Meckley and Joey Stiles each won a singles match for the Colonials.
RED LION 7, YORK COUNTRY DAY 0: At Red Lion, Sam Innerst, C.J. Weigle, Alec Gayrama, Chase McKnight and John Martin each captured a straight-set singles victory for the Lions.
– Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.