MIFFLINTOWN – Small but mighty – these are the words that come to mind for Juniata tennis’ No. 1 player Isaac Eck.
Eck played smooth, as did the rest of his Indian teammates, en route to an easy 5-2 victory over visiting non-league opponent Carson Long Friday evening at Juniata High School.
Both Eck and No. 2 player Logan Aurand remained undefeated in singles play so far this season as their team upped its record to an impressive 5-1 record.
Luis Pacheco, Brad Lipka and Ricky Heck also picked up victories to give Juniata the sweep in the singles matches.
“They did great tonight. We have some depth for a AA school. These kids have worked really hard. Some of these kids have logged 60-80 hours of court time in the off season and leading up to our first match,” Juniata coach Alan Musselman said. “It’s paying. Isaac playing since he was 10-years old gave him a great advantage not with just match play but helping his teammates. He, in effect, is helping me coach and in the process, setting an example both in his sportsmanship and his play.”
It took just 38 minutes for Eck to defeat Carson Long’s Edward Polina. He maintained a 66-percent first service hits while connecting with two aces in the 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Eck tallied only 11 unforced errors while Polina had twice the amount at 22. The Indian phenom also delivered a total of 14 unreturned services while only marking three of his own.
Aurand was almost as effective, using a blazing serve and a keen awareness of his position on the court to defeat James McCloskey 6-2, 6-0. With his aggressiveness, Aurand had McClosky on his heels for most of the contest, making him hit awkwardly from a retreat position.
The Juniata co-captain’s game was never threatened as he took it right at McCloskey to earn the quick victory.
“Logan and Luis Pacheco are our co-captains and Logan is our only starting senior this year,” Musselman said. “He’s just done a wonderful job for us. He and Eck are both undefeated in both singles and doubles this season. We’re six matches into the season, that is an exceptional feat.”
Pacheco solidified the third position, defeating Geon Shin 6-2, 6-1 to continue the singles domination over Carson Long.
In the fourth and fifth positions, the wins kept coming as Brad Lipka defeated Connor Stack in overwhelming fashion (6-2, 6-1), and Ricky Heck also gave up only three points as he topped Manrhel Deyjusta 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles action turned out to be Juniata’s only weakness on the evening, as the two teams competed strongly but fell just short of the victory.
Polina and McClosky defeated the combination of Hudson Bowsman and Brad Strawser 10-8, while the duo of Shin and Arden Kennedy defeated Juniata’s Trevin Steigleman and Thaddeus Smith 10-6.
However, it was too little too late for Carson Long as Juniata went on to the 5-2 victory.
“Last year Isaac went undefeated through the season and Logan and Isaac won a district championship in doubles, they are still getting better,” Musselman said. “But they also brought all the other team members with them so we have a number three, four and five that are getting better with every match.”
Juniata (5-1) hosts Lancaster Country Day Tuesday.