Thursday afternoon's tennis match at Red Lion High School was a homecoming for Dallastown head coach Mark Koons.
Koons, a Red Lion graduate, watched his team defeat his former team, 7-0, to remain unbeaten in York Adams Division I. Koons also had a chance to visit with his high school coach, Jay Vasellas.
Vasellas, Red Lion's head boys' coach for 25 seasons, is now a volunteer coach for the Lions. The team's head coach is Ronda Vasellas, Jay's wife.
"I have happy memories of being here with Jay," Koons said after Dallastown improved its league record to 4-0. "We have the same philosophy when it comes to running a program. No. 1, it's a varsity sport, the same as football and basketball, and you take it seriously when it comes to training and preparation and playing. No. 2, you emphasize to the players that when you win, you win with class."
Koons, who uses the same challenge system that Vasellas employed to determine where each player fits in the lineup, is in his 22nd season as head coach. The dean of York-Adams boys' coaches, Koons took over at Dallastown just one year following his graduation from Shippensburg University.
Koons played tennis in college after helping his high school team win the York County title in his senior year. He teamed with his brother, Scott, to capture the York County and District 3 doubles championships.
During his coaching career, Dallastown's teams have won one state title, four District 3 Class AAA crowns and 11 York-Adams championships.
"I've been fortunate to have great kids from great families who work hard," said Koons, a social studies teacher at Dallastown High School.
What keeps pulling him back to the courts each year?
"I enjoy the competitive nature of the sport, and I enjoy being around the kids," he said. "I've had some top-notch kids, not just as tennis players, who have come through this program, and I've been lucky enough to stay in touch with many of them."
Koons' current kids are in a three-way battle with defending champion South Western and Central York for the York-Adams title.
The Wildcats handled Red Lion in straight sets on Thursday, but the Lions didn't exactly roll over for the favored visitors.
"We were losing 3-0 at No. 2 and 3-1 at No. 5 (in the first set of each match), and the other matches were really nip and tuck," Koons said. "Give credit to Red Lion, they came ready to play. Give our guys credit for realizing the match is on and rising to the occasion."
Adam Gante, Andy Murray, Aaron Inkrote, Payce Berridge and Kyle Salaga earned singles points for the Wildcats. Gant and Michael Klahold teamed up to win the No. 1 doubles match, and Murray and Berridge combined to capture the No. 2 doubles match.
In the most hotly contested match of the day, Inkrote outlasted Red Lion freshman Sam Innerst, 7-5, 7-6 (5) at No. 3 singles.
"Aaron Inkrote had a big win against Manheim Township, and he had a hard battle today," Koons said. "Innerst is going to be a great player."
OTHER BOYS' TENNIS
SUSQUEHANNOCK 7, NORTHEASTERN 0: At Manchester, the Warriors swept singles in straight sets, with Kaltrin Bullaj, Zach Hanson, Jordan Baublitz, Dan Ferraro and Shane Bookhultz each picking up a victory.
WEST YORK 7, YORK HIGH 0: At West York, the Bulldogs received straight-set singles victories from Matt Tillman, Ben Purtell, Zach Fogleman, Sean Deveney and Josh Myers.
CENTRAL 7, SPRING GROVE 0: At Spring Grove, the Panthers won all five singles in straight sets, with Ryan Keffer, Connor Nixdorf, Hunter Brown, Josh Strickler and Zachary Santos each capturing a victory. Central improved to 3-0 in York-Adams Division I and 6-0 overall.
YORK SUBURBAN 6, HANOVER 1: At Hanover, the Trojans received singles victories from Michael Hogg, David Lee, Elliot Diehl, Nick McElhinny and Ben Lam. Suburban improved to 3-0 in the York-Adams Division II and 7-2 overall.
SOUTH WESTERN 5, DOVER 2: At Dover, the Mustangs swept singles in straight sets, with Brandon Stremmel, Daniel Fabrick, Michael Fabrick, Ben Harrison, and Joe Harrison each picking up a victory. For the Eagles, Nate Williams and Cameron Miller combined to win the No. 1 doubles, while Max Strickler and Levi Peters combined to win the No. 2 doubles. South Western improved to 4-0 in York-Adams Division I and 8-1 overall.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at 505-5407 or at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.