PHOENIXVILLE - The defense rests its case.
The Owen J. Roberts doubles team of Brant Buckley and Ben Fleming repeated as Pioneer Athletic Conference champions Wednesday afternoon with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Phoenixville's Tom Stoltz and Micah Cascone at the Leo J. Scoda Courts.
Now Buckley, a junior, and Fleming, a senior, will be out to defend their District 1 Class AAA title starting Friday at the Healthplex Sports Club in Delaware County. The Phantoms will compete at the Class AA level.
Buckley and Fleming relied heavily on scoring while serving to beat the two Phantom seniors in a match that lasted a little more than an hour.
Phoenixville did lead 3-1 in the first set before the Wildcats reversed fortunes on the hot day by taking the next five games.
"In the beginning, it was a little nerves," said Buckley, the PAC-10 singles champion. "Most of our points were lost on returns or serves. They (Phantoms) capitalized."
"I came out a little bit tight," said Fleming, who will attend the University of Delaware in the fall to continue academics and tennis. "We didn't have our rhythm early. We had to wait three or four days for the final.
"We have districts Friday and that is a huge tournament. We were preparing for that and had to play the league match."
Cascone served the Phantoms to a 1-0 lead in the second set. The Phantoms pulled within 3-2 on a return into the net on Cascone's second serve, but the Wildcats won out to seal the match.
"My serve helped us," said Buckley. "We only lost four points on my serve, and Ben has a good serve. His serve has improved, and it is 100 percent about the serve and the importance of the serve."
The Wildcats used their experience of playing together for two years while Stoltz and Cascone are a new combination for the Phantoms.
"We have confidence in each other," Buckley said. "We know we can come back so we don't get down. When one is down, the other helps out when needed."
"Brant played a strong match from start to finish," Fleming said. "I came out a little sloppy, but we complement each other. We guaranteed games, and that took the pressure off and we were able to relax."
In the first set, Buckley served a pair of aces for a 1-0 Owen J. Roberts lead. Cascone countered in the second game the Phantoms won at 40-15 on a Stoltz slam. Fleming had a double fault that gave the Phantoms a 2-1 edge. Stoltz served the fourth game that went to deuce and the Phantoms won for their short-lived 3-1 lead.
Buckley held serve to make it 3-2, and then the Wildcats used a service break to pull even at 3-all.
Buckley and Fleming are the top singles players for coach Jerry Styer's Wildcats.
"They won districts last year so they know each other," Styer said. "They get better and better. They have confidence in the right places. They are coming together and know what each other can do to keep the train on the tracks."
Stoltz normally plays first doubles for the Phantoms while Cascone is the second singles player.