JOHNSTOWN — Conrad Weiser did not waste a golden opportunity as the Scouts edged out the Bisons, 4-1, Tuesday.
It was the first time in the team’s history the netters got a crack at the PIAA Class AA State Playoffs after coming up short a year ago.
Although the final score was largely in favor of the Scouts that did not mean the Bisons did not leave everything they had on the court.
While the first two singles teams for the Scouts made quick work of the Bisons, but Luke Dague at No. 3 singles for Bedford wasn’t willing to give up so easily.
Dague won the opening set, 6-4, but dropped the second set, 6-1.
In a decisive third set, Dague jumped out ahead early, 1-0. The Bison continued to steadily hold a lead over Conrad’s Ethan Mayer before settling at match point with a 5-2 lead and ultimately holding on to take a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 lead, cutting the team deficit, 2-1.
“Luke played a phenomenal match, winning in three sets,” said Bedford coach Butch Beidle. “He finished this season 17-1 in singles. He played phenomenal tennis, especially after falling behind. He won that first set, lost the second set, and battling back to win 6-2. I’m really proud of him.”
Conrad Weiser’s Nicholas Balaci pulled past Bedford’s Caleb Beidle, 6-2, 6-3; while Jack Fitzpatrick won for the Scouts, 6-4, 6-1, against Bedford’s Johnny Imgrund.
Conrad Weiser secured the match with Jayden Lewis and Alex Waltz at No. 2 doubles. The Scouts topped Bedford’s Joey Windows and Isaac Arnold, 6-1, 6-0.
At No. 1 doubles, Bedford’s Zach Kachman and Lance Dague played a game of cat and mouse with CW’s Kurt Allen and Fox Bryan. The Scouts trailed the Bedford duo for much of the opening set before taking a 6-5 lead after trailing, 5-4.
The Bedford duo fought back to force a tiebreaker and that too was a close one, but the battling Bisons pulled through to take the tiebreaker, 11-9.
Despite winning the opening game, Bedford then dropped the second set, 6-1.
The two teams agreed to play a 10-point tiebreaker due to travel time for the Scouts.
Much like the opening set and tiebreaker the second tiebreaker was also a close one, but the Scouts won the final two points, with the Scouts winning on a drop shot, 13-11.
“I can’t say enough about Zach and Lance,” the Bedford coach noted. “Boy, they went three sets to a very good Conrad Weiser doubles team. They just came up a little short in a super tiebreaker.”
Despite the loss, the four graduating seniors — Caleb Beidle, Lance Dague, Luke Dague, and Kachman — have accumulated four consecutive District 5 team titles and three Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championships, as well as district doubles titles as well.
“It’s bittersweet,” Coach Beidle added. “This team has accomplished a lot. These seniors especially. Three consecutive undefeated Laurel Highlands Athletic championships. Four consecutive District 5 team championships. That’s an incredible feat when you think about. They’ve been very blessed by God with the opportunities they’ve had this season. They gave it their best.
“One thing I’ve always appreciated about this team is they’ve always left it out on the court. Always 100 percent hustle. As a coach I cannot say anything more than that. That’s what it’s all about. I’m very humbled by their play.”
Bedford finishes the year, 20-2.
Conrad Weiser advances to Friday morning’s state quarterfinal and faces Moravian Academy. Moravian defeated Masterman, 3-2.