WEXFORD – A near-perfect performance by Jacob Patterson earned the South Fayette senior his second straight WPIAL singles title.
Patterson defeated Trey Davidson from North Allegheny in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0, during the Class AAA championship match played at the Pure Athletex Sportsplex.
“Jacob brought his complete game. There wasn’t any area in which he was ailing,” said SF coach Brian Garlick. “Jacob was phenomenal. He brought his best game.”
Patterson served up aces, attacked the net when necessary and won long rallies and patiently waited for his opponent to make the unforced error.
“Out of the whole tournament, this was my best match. I played my best tennis,” Patterson said.
A self-described all-around player, Patterson said he mixed it up well.
“It’s never good to stay one-dimensional. So you want to have your opponent running.”
The only time Davidson stood motionless was after Patterson’s scorching serves, which have been clocked in the 80s in the past.
“My serves were very good,” Patterson said.
During the early rounds of the tournament, which were held outdoors on April 12 at the Bethel Park High School courts, Patterson battled a brisk wind that affected his tosses.
Yet, Patterson dominated the competition. He lost two games en route to reaching the finals.
After beating Justin Novotney of Hempfield, 10-0, and Moon’s Anthony Louder, 10-1, in the opening rounds, Patterson dispatched Central Catholic’s Kyle Broadhurst, 6-0, 6-1, in the semifinals.
The championship matches were moved indoors because of the threat of storms on April 13 and the fact that most schools recessed the following day for the Passover/Easter holiday break.
“We played (the earlier rounds) outside so it was a pretty big adjustment to go inside,” said Patterson. He prefers to play outside as long as there is no wind.
“Trey is a very good player and I knew I had to adjust. Every ball was going to come back really hard and fast. So you had to be prepared.”
Patterson said the site did not impact the outcome because as long as he played his game he would be okay.
Garlick agreed saying that both players had to compete on the same court. “The circumstances didn’t matter.
“Jacob played amazing. I expected nothing less from him. He loves to compete and he loves to compete at a high level.”
Since his freshman year, Patterson has been a WPIAL contender. He finished fourth in the district in 2019.
The following year, the spring scholastic sports season was canceled because of the pandemic.
Patterson won the title last spring, by beating Shadyside Academy’s Colin Gramley, 7-5, 6-3, in the 2021 finals played at North Allegheny.
“This year’s title means more because I know that it is very hard to defend a championship,” Patterson said. “I felt everyone wanted to play well against me and they did. It wasn’t easy but I knew if I played my best tennis and always believed, then I could do it again.”
Thanks to his WPIAL triumph, Patterson earned a return trip to the state championships. The PIAA singles tournament will be held May 27-28 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
Last year, Patterson reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
“We expect Jacob to compete at a high level,” Garlick said. “No doubt his experience last year taught him a lesson to be a bit more prepared.”
Patterson said he has been working on his forehand side because his strength is his backhand.
“I have to stay in the rallies more because the kids from Philly play like me or better. So I know I have to work on things and never get complacent.”
If Patterson treats the PIAA like the WPIAL championships, then he should fare well.
“I knew I had to play my bet tennis to win,” he agreed. “I played close to it.”
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