Barons sweep Altoona 9-0

Barons sweep Altoona 9-0

By John Gallagher

ALTOONA, Pa. - The Barons took care of business on the road, with a 9-0 sweep of conference opponent Penn State Altoona. The outdoor Saturday matchup kicked off without senior captain Jarek Sulak; the Barons again sported an abbreviated lineup to compensate.

No. 1 doubles duo Jake Haffner and freshman Luke Conrad pulled out a tight competition on the first court. The Barons surrendered one game up 7-5, before Conrad contributed clutch volleys behind Haffner's solid serves, for the win.

On the second court, senior duo Connor Jooste and John Gallagher powered through their No. 2 doubles counterparts. The pair lost only a single game en route to an 8-1 victory, and never faced a break point on serve. Jooste sent a harsh service return down the middle of the court for the win.

Jack Galla again paired with fellow sophomore Walter Matt at the No. 3 doubles spot. Together, the Barons were the first off the court, turning in an 8-1 victory. Deep service returns catered well to volley opportunities at the net for the pair.

After a 3-0 doubles sweep, the Barons took to the courts for the onset of singles play.

Matt wasted no time in polishing off his No. 5 singles opponent 6-0, 6-1. It was a solid demonstration of baseline patience from the sophomore. One court down, Gallagher dropped his first set 6-3 at the No. 2 singles spot, but responded with a 6-1 second set victory. He delivered the win with a 10-0 third set tiebreaker win to seal another match for Franciscan.

Galla's match at the No. 6 singles spot also concluded in a third set tiebreaker, another one that ended in favor of the Barons. Galla's 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 win saw him pull out a close match late, outlasting a consistent Altoona opponent.

Haffner turned in a 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 1 singles spot; he found ways to work around his opponent's solid forehands, and rode smart tennis and consistent serves to a victory. Elsewhere, Jooste's No. 3 singles match tightened on the second set after he took the first 6-3. Up 6-5, he found another gear for the 7-5 second set win.

Last on the court, Conrad never waved in his 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 4 singles. The rest of the team watched the freshman close a comfortable match on his own terms, turning in a healthy number of winners off his forehand side.

After the 9-0 victory, favorite son Stephen Bolster said "Those cookies were good."

The Barons will host Penn St.-Behrend in their final AMCC match of the regular season tomorrow at 2:00 pm.