Tennis

Cecchini named boys tennis Player of the Year

Cecchini named boys tennis Player of the Year

After playing his first two years of high school tennis in Indiana, and having his junior season wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, Evan Cecchini knew he had only one chance to make an impact on Valley tennis.

So the Lewisburg senior went out and dominated.

“This was my only year playing high school tennis (in Pennsylvania), so I had to prove myself and get my name out there,” Cecchini said. “In the end, I feel like it worked for me.”

Cecchini lost only one regular-season match playing No. 1 singles for the Green Dragons, swept his way to the District 4 singles title and won his first match at the state tournament before ending his brief Pennsylvania prep career. Because of that dominance, Cecchini was named The Daily Item Boys Tennis Player of the Year.

Cecchini lost only four games in winning three matches to reach the District 4 final, where he was tested by Hughesville’s Logan Burns in a 7-5, 6-3 win.

Cecchini trailed 4-3 in the first set before he went on a roll.

“When I went down, I had to reset mentally,” Cecchini said. “He was playing fantastic, so I had to slow down the pace a little bit. … I came back hard. That was really the pivotal point of the first set.”

Cecchini’s mental game, along with his obvious physical skill and work ethic, propelled him to a two-loss debut season. That rubbed off on his Lewisburg teammates, 11 of whom will return next season.

“He’s definitely fit right in with all the players,” Lewisburg coach Samuel Harer said. “He was just working really hard throughout the season.”

After winning the district title, Cecchini earned a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win over Camp Hill’s Josh Pantaloni in the first round of states before falling to the eventual third-place finisher in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

As good as Cecchini’s season was, the start didn’t go so well. He lost his first match as a Green Dragon 6-0, 6-0 to Central Mountain freshman David Lindsey. Lindsey lost to the eventual Class 3A state champion in the state quarterfinals.

Cecchini then ran off 21 straight wins to reach the state quarterfinals, and most of the matches weren’t close. After the loss, Cecchini dropped only six total games in his next 10 matches.

Part of his success all season was how Cecchini played on the big points, and the key for him was to play those big points differently than the ones that came just before.

“Usually I switch up the tempo on the breakpoints,” Cecchini said. “If the last three or four points we played, I was going aggressive, straight at him with a flat, hard ball, maybe I’ll throw a deep, loopy ball at him, and vice versa. If I’m hitting deep, loopy balls, then I’ll go for a winner. It’s just about throwing him off.”

Throughout his only Pennsylvania season, Cecchini constantly threw his opponents off, and the results were quite sparkling.

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