Salisbury Press

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMason Groff has competed in three straight District 11 doubles finals. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMason Groff has competed in three straight District 11 doubles finals.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ In his first season on the Falcon tennis team, Ethan Heydt (above) earned a district medal in doubles. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ In his first season on the Falcon tennis team, Ethan Heydt (above) earned a district medal in doubles.

Goff, Heydt take silver in D-11 doubles

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

Salisbury seniors Mason Groff and Ethan Heydt have teamed up together to play some Ping-Pong, and were teammates on the Falcons’ boys soccer team that won districts in the fall. The two even played some video game tennis, but never had that duo played together on an actual court prior to a couple of days before teaming up for the District 11 Class 2A doubles tournament.

With John Yurconic winning the district singles tournament, Groff (Yurconic’s cousin and former postseason doubles teammate) knew he would need a new partner for this district doubles tournament. Enter Heydt, a first-year tennis player under Salisbury head coach Rob Benson.

The duo ran through the first four rounds of the Class 2A doubles tournament, losing just one game in the first three matchups, to advance to a finals matchup against Moravian Academy that most expected. That’s when the tandem’s run came to an end against the Lions’ AbbhiSekar and Oliver Scott, resulting in a second-place finish in district doubles.

“We beat the No. 1 doubles team from Moravian in the semifinals,” Groff said. “That was a very tough match against a very good doubles team, and it felt great to get that win. Obviously we went up against an even better Moravian team in the finals, and it just wasn’t our day. They played great and we made a bit too many errors. “

Groff and Heydt defeated Ryan Brands and Robbie Shaff of Moravian in the semifinals to advance to the championship at Winning Touch. The two got off to a quick start on the court, but Sekar and Scott’s experience proved to be the deciding factor in the 6-4, 6-4 win.

But for Groff to advance to the doubles finals for the third straight year, and Heydt proving to be the perfect fit in just his first season, nobody could have asked for much more.

“Mason and I hadn’t played doubles at all before the doubles tournament this year,” Heydt said. “This took some getting used to, but we were able to connect pretty well once we started practicing. Being my first year on the tennis team, and Mason’s first tournament playing with me, I am proud of what we accomplished.”

“It is an awesome feeling to be in the district final for three years in a row,” Groff said. “Getting there again shows how hard we work as a team to play our best. The feeling is indescribable when talking about how we feel representing Salisbury.”

The Falcon duo breezed through its opening match against Blue Mountain’s Cole Hatter and Andrew Chawlik, winning 6-0, 6-1. Then it swept Bethlehem Catholic’s Dan Deshler and Matt Falteich in the second round and Saucon Valley’s Joel Thompson and Jake Nichols in the quarterfinals.

“We went through every match one at a time, focusing on every point,” Groff said. “Obviously the thought was in our mind that we would play Moravian at some point, and our tournament went perfectly to reach the finals.”

Against the No. 4 seeded team in the tournament, Groff’s and Heydt’s confidence only grew larger as the two progressed in the tournament. They had little trouble in dispatching of Brands and Schaff in straight sets (6-2, 6-2) in the semifinals.

They nearly made it two victories over Moravian Academy pairs in a matter of three days.

“Of course playing with a different partner is going to be hard to adjust to and figure out in the beginning,” Groff said. “But both Ethan and I were able to take our friendship to the court, just like John and I did. That made it a lot easier to play with him and have fun while doing it.”

“Mason and I are very proud of our run in district doubles,” Heydt said. “It definitely is nice to send a team to the doubles finals after having a Salisbury player win the distinct singles title. It shows that Salisbury has a lot of talent.”