Nobody would have begrudged Hanover’s Antonio Corona and Charlie Zitto had they bowed out early in the YAIAA Class 2A Doubles Tournament.
The pair had rarely played together throughout the season and Zitto came in nursing a blister that had been pestering him for most of the campaign.
The duo, which entered the tournament seeded fourth, had other plans. After winning a pair of matches in straight sets on Monday afternoon, Corona and Zitto continued their quest on Tuesday afternoon, coming from behind to down Bermudian Springs’ Brett Laughman and Nate Edmondson in a thrilling semifinal before eventually falling just short in finals, losing to Susquehannock’s Andy Snyder and Colin Brusee 6-2, 6-2.
“Those guys have been like that all year,” Hanover coach Denny Garman said of his team’s resiliency. “The whole mantra of the year has been ‘let’s just get better today. Let’s keep improving.’ And they’ve done that.
“Those two haven’t played that many doubles matches together and every time they were on the court they just kept getting better and better.”
It appeared briefly as if the title hopes for Corona and Zitto would be dashed, as they fell behind second-seeded Laughman and Edmondson early, dropping the first set 6-2.
“I feel like the turning point was at the end of that set when Charlie and I were able to click against them,” Corona said. “We started without having much experience, but we quickly learned a lot about doubles strategy.”
In the second set, the Nighthawks’ pair seized control, winning 6-3 and swinging momentum back in their favor.
The third and decided set was a nailbiter. Corona and Zitto were on serve first and led 3-2 mid-way through the set. They were then able to break serve to take a 4-2 lead and went on to claim the set and the match, 6-3.
“After the second set I said to them, ‘Hey, you guys just keep getting better and better. I think you got this, go win it,’” Garman said of the comeback.
The finals presented a stern test for the Hanover team. Standing across from them were Snyder and Brusse, the YAIAA champion and third-place finishers, respectively, in the 2A singles tournament.
While they were able to hang with the dynamic duo from Susky early on, trailing just 3-2 mid-way through the opening set, eventually the Warriors would pull away, taking a 6-2, 6-2 straight set victory and leaving Corona and Zitto with a runner-up finish.
“It seems like when the legs go sometimes the brains go with it,” Garman said of how the tough semifinal may have affected his team in the finals. “I think Susquehannock was definitely the best team here and deserved to be the champions, but I thought my guys still fought really hard though and I’m proud of that.”
Both Corona and Zitto are set to return next year and the duo say they now have their sites set on bigger goals in 2022.
“We definitely think we’re going to outdo ourselves next year,” Zitto said. “We just have to put the work in and we’ll see what happens.”
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at email@example.com
YAIAA Doubles Tournament
Tuesday - South Western H.S.
1. Wu/Arbittier (Dallastown) d. 4. Alex Guy/Derek Cracium (South Western) 6-1, 7-5; Nicholson/Koons (Dallastown) d. 2. Wheeler/Nadeau (Red Lion) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Wheeler/Nadeau (Red Lion) d. Guy/Cracium (South Western) 6-4, 6-2
Wu/Arbittier (Dallastown) d. Nicholson/Koons (Dallastown) 6-2, 6-0
1. Snyder/Brusse (Susquehannock) d. 3. Fuentes/Vu (West York) 6-3, 6-1; 4. Antonio Corona/Charlie Zitto (Hanover) d. 2. Brett Laughman/Nate Edmondson (Bermudian Springs) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
Laughman/Edmondson (Bermudian) d. Fuentes/Vu (West York) 6-3, 6-3
Snyder/Brusse (Susquehannock) d. Corona/Brusse (Susquehannock) 6-2, 6-2