Huskies come through with late victory

LEWISTOWN – Although most spring sports are slated to begin today, the boys on the tennis court are already three competitions into the season. And for Mifflin County, this young season has had a successful start.

The Huskies hosted Commonwealth Division opponent Central Dauphin on Thursday, and thanks to victories across every singles match, they notched a 3-2 win to extend their record to 3-0.

Mifflin County coach Glenn Kyle said the small streak is a good way to start the season, noting that his team will need to continue to play hard when the competition begins to heat up.

“Our kids just have to come play,” he said. “Come play, and if they can get better all the time, then that’s good.”

The two Huskies who might have felt the most heat Thursday were singles players Matt DeBenedetto and Cody Donaldson.

Conner Saltzer, the Huskies’ No. 2 singles man, had already defeated Aiden Henken 6-2, 6-2, but the Nate Koller/Kevin Cahill and Ben Renninger/Noah Fisher doubles teams fell, putting Mifflin County behind, 2-1. For the team to win, both DeBenedetto and Donaldson needed to pull through, and that’s exaclty what they did.

Donaldson edged Ryan Plesco 6-4 in their first set, then cruised through the second set 6-1.

The Mifflin County senior said that although Plesco only won one game in the second set, he provided a challenge.

“There were some tight games. He was a tough kid,” Donaldson said. “I had to give maximum effort out there in the second set. I really didn’t want it to go to a third.”

After the Donaldson win to tie the match 2-2, DeBenedetto was still battling with Ryan Seibert two courts over, but the Huskies’ No. 1 singles man was soon to put away the match.

DeBenedetto had already won his first set 6-2, and after falling behind three games in the second set, only gave up one more game to Seibert as he won the second set, 6-4.

“I was down 0-3, and I got my first game of that set, then I knew that I was still in it,” he explained.

In the final game of the set, DeBenedetto didn’t allow Seibert to score a single point, easily working off the momentum of a win the game before to seal it for the Huskies.

“Going into (the second set), I definitely had a lot of momentum. I lost it about half way through, but I really decided just to stick with it, and it paid off,” he said.

The Huskies (3-0, 3-0) host Carlisle today, and Kyle said that as teams around the conference deal with the cold, sometimes rainy early-season weather, they’re all still learning what they have to offer in terms of competition.

“No teams have had any practice times, so it’s a matter of kind of playing on the fly and getting better on the fly,” he said.