HERSHEY - If Issac Eck and Logan Aurand were nervous in their first trip to the PIAA Class AA Doubles Championships Friday at the Hershey Racquet Club, they didn't show it.
The Juniata pair defeated Donald McMonagle and Nick Holder, of Archbishop Carroll, 6-3 and 6-2 in the round of 16 Friday morning.
Later in the day the pair's run ended when they fell to William Kleeman and Patrick Dellinger, of Sewickley Academy, 6-3 and 6-1. The pair from Sewickley was one of the favorites to reach the final before the tournament began.
But the story of the day was the first round win over the highly touted District 12 champions.
In the first set, Eck and Aurand jumped out to a quick 2-1 lead and from three it was game on.
"I sensed a little nervousness in the first couple of sets," said Juniata head coach Alan Musselman. "But after they won a game or two they got comfortable and all the nervousness was gone."
Aurand confirmed what his coach said.
"I am always nervous at the beginning of a match," said the junior. "The weakest part of my game is the return of serve and after a got a few of those under my belt and was able to relax and play our style of tennis."
It was their style of tennis that confused the Archbishop Carroll pair and opened the door for a Juniata victory.
"When Issac and Logan attack they are at their best," said Mussleman. "When they attack they go to the net and they did that today very well.
"They are good all-court players, but when they attack they are very good and it showed today."
By going to the net in tandem, it confused McMonagle and Holder to the point that their spacing over the court was off. The spacing problems opened up lanes that Juniata exploited time after time.
"(Archbishop Carroll) got into bad positions because of the way we played and it opened things up for us," said Mussleman. "The key was we were able to take advantage of it."
Even when Archbishop Carroll tried to mount a comeback, Eck said it was important for them to stike to what was working.
"It is important for us to be on the attack," said the freshman. "It is where we do the best."
Friday's loss will not be the last tennis fans hear the names of Aurand and Eck.
They will both be back next year and Eck is just a freshman.
Eck lost only once in singles this year and that was in the District 6 final. The pair was undefeated in doubles play.
Eck is also an accomplished player and and gets support from both the Juniata County Tennis Association and the Charles Miller estate. Both groups help fund his training and gives him numerous chances through out the year to play the best in the region and the country.
And all that training and playing not only as helped Eck.
"I can see a difference in Logan with the time he spends with Issac," said Mussleman. "He has learned a lot from him and will continue to learn a lot from them.
"Those two are going to keep getting better."