HERSHEY — Jonah Rebert’s second foray into PIAA tennis ended in the same spot as his first — a quarterfinal defeat that wrapped the scholastic season for the Lancaster Country Day School ace.
Rebert dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision to Westmont Hilltop senior Adam Kush in a Class 2A quarterfinal Friday evening at Hershey Racquet Club.
The setback left Rebert wanting, as his season drew to a close.
“It was a bit of a disappointment,” he said. “I’m very routine-based, you could say. So going into last year, I had a four-year outlook. Freshman year, I got to where I wanted to be: I won a round at states. And now, there’s no real progress from last year. Didn’t get to where I wanted to go. The season was not a disappointment. Today was.”
Rebert was one of two Lancaster-Lebanon League contestants in the PIAA field. Nine hours prior to Rebert’s final volley, Cedar Crest’s Jack Muraika lost his opening-round match in Class 3A to Cathedral Prep’s Matt DeMarco, 6-1, 6-2.
The day started well for Rebert, with a 6-0, 6-0 first-round whitewash of Fairview’s Jake Geiger in less than 45 minutes. That encounter left more than four hours to kill before Rebert hopped back on the court for his 5 p.m. semifinal versus Kush. A slow start was quickly in evidence, with a pair of service games broken and an early hole established.
“I think I was mentally tired,” Rebert said. “Not physically. Every game in the first set I had a game or break point and couldn’t finish. That’s frustrating. … And that’s not to discredit him. He oftentimes saved those points and came up with a good shot on them.”
Kush — making his first significant push in his final go-round — never trailed against Rebert. He jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set on the back of a pair of service breaks, though Rebert battled back to 4-3. Kush then captured the second set in 30 minutes, while dropping just nine points during the frame.
Kush advanced to play Sewickley Academy sophomore Arjan Bedi in Saturday morning’s 2A semifinal; Wyomissing’s Nonpawitt Siriungruangsarn will face Masterman’s Jonathan Nottingham in the other.
“My serve was really effective,” Kush said. “It gave me a lot easy shots on the next ball. My forehand was working well. I was hitting a lot of heavy balls that hurt him on his side.”
In Class 3A, Muraika struggled against DeMarco in his morning start, not being able to return as many balls as needed or work his opponent effectively. DeMarco never trailed and the Cedar Crest ace never made a run.
Sameer Gangoli of Great Valley will face Unionville’s Tristan Bradley in one 3A semifinal Saturday; Fox Chapel’s Robby Shymansky takes on Dallastown’s Holden Koons in the other. Koons is a now a three-time defending District Three champion as a junior. He’s hunting his first state gold medal.