Western Wayne's boys varsity squad is looking to shrug off several rough seasons in the Lackawanna League

Western Wayne's boys varsity tennis team has had a rough time of it the last few years in Lackawanna League action.

The Wildcats enjoyed a run of sustained success from 2008-10, but have struggled mightily since.

In fact, since posting a combined record of 24-13 during that period, the local lads have managed just three regular season wins while absorbing 33 losses.

Although the 'Cats are off to another tough start this spring, the future looks bright with several talented youngsters battling their way onto the varsity roster.

Veteran skipper Ellin O'Hora began the season with no seniors ... a team dominated by juniors and sophomores, even a few freshmen sprinkled in.

The wins may not be there yet, but don't count the 'Cats out as they gain more experience every day.

Opening Day

When Old Man Winter loosened his grip enough, Western Wayne finally got out onto the court to start the 2014 campaign.

The Wildcats traveled to Dunmore for a battle with the Bucks and came out on the short end of a 5-0 score.

Zach Hall opened up at #1 singles. A three-year veteran of the varsity team, Hall broke into the line-up as a freshman doubles player. He moved up to #2 singles last year and then ascended to the top spot.

Sadly for Varden tennis fans, Hall dropped his first match of the season in straight sets to Dunmore's Tom Occhipinti (0-6, 3-6).

Kyle Thorpe earned the start at second singles for Coach O'Hora's squad, but suffered a similar fate.

The sophomore put up a valiant struggle, but eventually absorbed a 2-6, 2-6 loss at the hands of Dunmore's Taylor Lewis.

Jesse Thorpe drew the starting nod at #3 singles for the 'Cats. The junior also worked hard, but ran out of gas against Kyle Copeland. The final score was 2-6, 1-6.

In doubles action, Adam Mattern teamed up with Brandon Hall at #1, while Colton McDonald and Noah Peet held down the #2 slot.

Once again, the Bucks were too much for Western Wayne's youngsters.

Dunmore's duo of Kory Klatt and Mark Pegula won in straight sets at #1 (6-2, 6-2), while the tandem of Jack Quinn and Matt Murphy closed the match out at #2 (6-2, 6-1).

Lopsided Loss

Valley View has been a perennial powerhouse on the Lackawanna League scene for many years.

While the Cougars may not enjoy the same pedigree as Abington Heights and Scranton Prep, they nearly always manage to insinuate themselves into the championship chase.

This year appears to be no exception as Coach Jerry Pickard's squad has opened the season with three wins in its first four matches.

Last Monday in Varden, the Cougars dominated their match with the Wildcats en route to a 5-0 shutout.

Joey Ferratti, PJ Sova and Alec Rodway each posted a 6-0, 6-0 singles sweep.

Western Wayne was more competitive in doubles, as Peet and Hall took six games from the visitors before finally succumbing.

Jeff Sawyer paired up with McDonald at #2, but also suffered a straight set loss (1-6, 1-6).

Bright Spots

Western Wayne's best performance to date came last Thursday at Scranton.

Although the 'Cats once again endured a 5-0 setback, they were highly competitive in all three singles matches.

Hall got the Knights' attention by dealing Prerak Patel a 6-3 loss in the first set at #1 singles.

Unfortunately, Scranton's top player re-grouped and took the final two sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-4.

Kyle Thorpe gave the home team's Aiden McNally all he could handle at #2 before running out of gas (2-6, 3-6).

However, the match at #3 singles proved to be the afternoon's most exciting.

Western Wayne's Noah Peet took Jamil Islam right down to the wire, but once again came up just a wee bit short. Peet dropped the first set before capturing the second in an epic tiebreaker.

Islam then seized the momentum for good and closed things out, 6-0.