Apr 24, 2009

A Tennis Tournament

Do you want to share?

Do you like this story?

In a match that mirrored their first meeting, Moore won his second consecutive Gloucester County Times Tournament singles title with a three-set victory against Malfitano, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2, in a battle of the county’s two premier high school boys tennis players.

Kingsway’s first doubles pair of Steve Mackay and Rick Davis took home the doubles title with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Clearview’s Corey Hardesty and John Klodnicki.

“I think being in that situation (being down a set to Malfitano) before helped,” said Moore, a Williamstown junior. “Experience always helps in those situations. Since I lost that first set I just had to push through it and just stay focused.

“If feels different (this year) defending a title. You get a lot more looks from people (being the defending champ), but you just have to focus on your match.”

It’s the third time in three years Moore defeated Gloucester Catholic’s Malfitano, also a junior, at the Times Tournament, after beating him in the second round and quarterfinals their freshman and sophomore years, respectively.

“Every year I get better and develop as a player, but so does he,” Malfitano said. “It’s good to see us both get better and I look forward to next year.

“I’ve always prided myself on third sets and it didn’t work out today, but I try to really buckle down and play my game in (that third set). I’ve had some good wins and you just learn from the wins and the losses. Look at what you did right and what you did wrong. Improve on what you do right and correct what you do wrong.”

That three-set mindset paid off for Malfitano in his 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 semifinal victory against Kingsway’s Steve Novosel.

“I was trying to get him with my power game, or my relatively powerful game,” Malfitano said with a laugh. “I was trying to put a lot more pace on the ball in the third set and throw him off balance a little bit. I got out to an early lead and was able to keep it going — getting that first game of the third set means a lot.”

Moore advanced past Clearview’s Jack Carpenter in the semifinals Saturday afternoon in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Carpenter won the third-place match by forfeit.

For Davis and Mackay, who are now 11-1 on the year, their goal was not to have a repeat performance. After dropping last year’s Times Tournament final, the Kingsway duo marched through this year’s field.

“Last year we didn’t show up at all and there was no excuse for how we played,” said Mackay, a senior. “Everyone told us we had to bring it this year because we were seniors and somehow we did.”

Hardesty and Klodnicki won a wild semifinal over Joe Spagnoletti and Tim Flank of Washington Township, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, which included battling back from a three-point deficit in the second-set tiebreaker and climbing out of a 4-1 third-set hole.

In the semifinals, Mackay and Davis were a point away from perhaps a very different fate. Delsea’s Mason Owens and Steve Nguyen pushed Kingsway to a first-set tiebreak and were up 5-2 before the Dragon duo reeled off seven straight points to win the opening frame, 7-6 (7-5), and ultimately the match.

“It was that one point (to make it 3-5) that got us back in the game,” Davis, also a senior, said. “We saw we could take it and decided not go down a set and go up a set instead and just went from there.

“Momentum is the biggest part of our game. If we go down, we go down, and if we’re up we stay up and momentum carried us through the tournament. We’re very hot and cold and today we were hot.”

Owens and Nguyen captured third place at doubles, defeating Spagnoletti and Flank, 6-0, 6-0, in the consolations.

Kingsway took home the team title with 13 points, while the Pioneers were second (nine) and Washington Township third (eight).