There were no formal introductions before Sunday’s singles finals for the City Rec Tennis Tournament. The opponents knew each other long before they arrived at Frontier Park’s courts.
Matt DeMarco defeated his father, Pat DeMarco, 6-2, 6-4 in the men’s championship match, while Vivian Liu beat younger sister Grace Liu 6-2, 6-2 for first place in the women’s bracket.
The men’s final was comprised of Cathedral Prep graduates who were PIAA doubles gold medalists 32 years apart.
Sunday’s match was notable, though, for reasons beyond their shared accomplishment and heredity.
Matt DeMarco’s victory was his fourth singles title in the tournament’s 61-year history. The University of Dayton senior also denied his father a record-tying fifth City Rec championship.
Each now trail Pat Grab, who was Matt DeMarco’s coach with the Ramblers, and former Mercyhurst University star Ravinder Sabherwal, who won his five titles between 1982 and 1990.
Matt DeMarco didn’t want to dwell on denying his dad that honor.
“It’s always fun playing him, and especially in this tournament,” he said. “I grew up watching him here all those years, so to play him in a final is something special.”
Pat DeMarco was paired with Matt Lynch when they won the PIAA’s open-class boys doubles tournament in 1984. The last of the Erie dentist’s four City Rec singles championships was in 2015.
Pat DeMarco admitted after Sunday’s match that given most of his recent tournament opponents are now half his age, it will be difficult for him to join Grab and Sabherwal as five-time titlists.
However, that also won’t stop him from trying, or even entering, future City Rec events.
“This tournament means a lot to me and my family,” Pat DeMarco said. “I still love to play it because it helps me feel young.”
Joe DeMarco, the oldest of Pat DeMarco’s three children, didn’t enter this weekend’s competition but did attend Sunday’s final. As the 2016 and 2017 PIAA Class 3A doubles champ with Matt DeMarco, he recently graduated from Dayton and is about to start work on his master’s degree at Baltimore’s famed Johns Hopkins University.
Joe DeMarco will also play for the Blue Jays throughout their 2022-23 men’s tennis season. The NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility to compete because of a lost year at Dayton due to the COVID pandemic.
Sarah DeMarco, a three-time PIAA Class 2A doubles champ while at Villa Maria, is about to start her junior season of women’s tennis at Dayton.
The Lius were a sister act
Sunday’s final was a graduation of sorts for the Liu sisters. While they were familiar names in past City Rec results, it was for its junior tournaments that are played in July.
Not this year. Vivian Liu, 13, swept Grace Liu, 11, to become one of the youngest female victors in singles.
“This is a very big accomplishment,” Vivian Liu said. “I’m very happy I got the chance to participate in this tournament.”
Vivian Liu mentioned Rick Sertz, the girls tennis coach at Fairview, as one of her past instructors.
They’re about to encounter each other more often in those roles.
Liu plans to compete for Sertz with the 2022 Tigers, who can start practice sessions on Aug. 15. The PIAA’s girls tennis season begins a week later.
Sunday’s action also included the finals for men’s and women’s open doubles
Gavin Ferretti and City Rec veteran Pete Kolesar upset top seeds Aravind Turaga and Nate Kisiel 6-0, 6-1 in the men’s match. Turaga and Kisiel are new Fairview graduates, with Kisiel expected to play for Allegheny College.
A round-robin format was held for the three duos involved in the women’s open doubles division. Each finished with 1-1 records, which forced tournament director Kelly Maslar to determine the winners through a tiebreaker.
Former Villa Maria Victors Ryleigh Valone and Lauren Passarelli, based on their 54.16 winning percentage for total games played, were declared the champs. Angela Chardeen and Lauren Richmond (54.05) were second, and Margaret Prichard and Lina Warrier (41.80) were third.
Contact Mike Copper firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ETNcopper.
Championship results for the City Rec Tennis Tournament:
- Men’s open singles: Matt DeMarco def. Pat DeMarco 6-2, 6-4
- Men’s open doubles: Gavin Ferretti-Pete Kolesar def. Aravind Turaga-Nate Kisiel 6-0, 6-1
- Women’s open singles: Vivian Liu def. Grace Liu 6-2, 6-2
- Women’s open doubles (round robin): 1. Ryleigh Valone-Lauren Passarelli 1-1 (54.16 winning percentage for total games played); 2. Angela Chardeen-Lauren Richmond 1-1 (54.05); 3. Margaret Prichard-Lina Warrier 1-1 (41.80)
- Women’s A doubles: Emily Kaiser-Tara Alvez def. Cheryl Stephany-Theresa Humes 6-4, 6-3
- Mixed doubles: Gary Passarelli-Katie Passarelli def. Logan Nikolai-Kim Nikolai 6-4, 6-1