DISTRICT 2 TENNIS: Abington Heights secures Class 3A crown

WILKES-BARRE — Intense, focused and determined.

Abington Heights, the unbeaten champion from the Lackawanna League, showed no mercy in its relentless pursuit of the District 2 Class 3A team championship Friday at Kirby Park.

As they have in all but one match this season, the top-seeded Comets swept the singles matches with wins from Praneel Mallaiah, Will Arp and Domenic Peters in a 3-0 victory over No. 3 seed Crestwood to capture an 11th straight title.

Abington Heights (14-0) advanced to the PIAA tournament and will play Tuesday at Birchwood in the first round.

“At the beginning of the season, this is where we wanted to be,” Mallaiah said. “We executed and that is what I am most proud of. This team has evolved so much since the beginning of the season until now, it’s just amazing to see.

“I love the chemistry this team has and we all bonded and achieved what we wanted to do. And we are going to keep working as we head to states.”

Abington Heights also dispatched of No. 4 seed Valley View, 3-0, in the early semifinal. That rewarded them with a lengthy rest as Crestwood (10-4) battled and eventually outlasted No. 2 seed Delaware Valley, 3-2, in a match that lasted nearly three hours.

Once the final started, Abington Heights’ talented group went on the attack and their combination of skill, precision and strategy overmatched Crestwood.

Mallaiah defeated Sean Rossi, 6-0, 6-0, as he carried the momentum of a semifinal win over Valley View’s Connor Peters, 6-1, 6-1.

Will Arp, a freshman who spent a lot of his childhood at Kirby Park cheering on his mom Kelly Arp’s girls team at Abington Heights, earned his first postseason win at No. 2 singles.

After staking off some initial nervous energy, his poise, and years of lessons led to a win over Crestwood’s Tommy Biscotti, 6-1, 6-0.

“After I settled in, I felt like I played really well,” Arp said. “It was a little bit scary because I am not used to playing with all of the people watching, so to be out on the court with everything being so important was a little different. It feels good that we won.”

Domenic Peters, a champion powerlifter, continued to use his strength and tennis instincts to grab a win over Ethan Zabrosky, a five-sport letter winner at Crestwood, 6-0, 6-0, in the final.

He also defeated Valley View’s Patrick Kolcharno, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals.

“Coach (Art) Comstock told us at the beginning of the season that he had three goals for us and one was to win the league, the second was win districts and the third is to make some noise in states,” Peters said. “We knew we had to play our game and we could get this win and now we move on.”

Abington Heights’ doubles teams of Brady Comstock-Liam Farrell and Mike Klamp-Dakota Kilonsky had wins against Valley View in the semifinals, and led their matches against Crestwood before play halted.

In its marathon win over Delaware Valley, Crestwood got wins from Zabroski at No. 3 singles over Jackson Hazard, 6-3, 6-4; Biscotti, who beat Alex Corcoran, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; and Rossi, who rallied for a win over Alex Mullen, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1.

“We are thrilled,” Crestwood coach Scott Lenio said. “We were coming in as the No. 3 seed, and it is hard to know the matchups because you don’t play in the regular season. You need three points, and it came down to the singles and we were thrilled to pull it off.”