Jaeger wins gold
It might have been his first time in the District 11 tennis finals, but it was clear last week Sean Jaeger was ready to play at the highest level high school tennis has to offer.
Taking on Nazareth senior Gabe Knowles, the top seed in the tournament, No. 2 seed Jaeger, an Emmaus High School freshman, showed poise and court savvy en route to his 6-3, 6-3 win in the Class 3A title match.
“I know Gabe’s a big hitter, so I was trying to stay as consistent as I could,” said Jaeger. “Gabe played really well. It was a tough match.”
The players traded points in the first three games, with both winning their serves. But when Jaeger broke Knowles in the fourth and sixth games of the first set to take a 4-2 lead, he put himself in control of the match the rest of the way.
Jaeger won two of the next three games to take the first set.
“The whole match we were taking one game at a time,” said Emmaus head coach Dimitri Diamandopoulos. “I know how solid Gabe is. He knows how solid Gabe is.”
Jaeger kept pressure on Knowles in the second set. He broke his opponents’ serve again to open the set and was up 3-2 before Knowles came up with his second serve break of the match to tie things at 3-3 before Jaeger took the next three sets for the title.
While Knowles clearly had the harder serve and volley game, Jaeger’s quickness and ability to move the ball around the court led him to victory.
“His percentage of unforced errors is very low,” said Diamandopoulos. “He’s very focused out there. He doesn’t make many mistakes and he knows when he makes mistakes.”
Jaeger also came into the Hornet program with as much experience as anyone who has played at the school. He’s a year-round tennis player who wasn’t at all nervous playing in a district title match.
“He’s a tournament player, so he’s pretty focused out there,” said Diamandopoulos. “He loves tennis. He plays tennis every day. You don’t see any nerves really. He just want to go out and win his match.”
Jaeger came into districts with a 13-0 record from He won four straight matches to reach the final against Knowles. Now he’ll move on to the state tournament in a few weeks where he’ll meet the fourth-place player out of District 1, the suburban Philadelphia area.