One thing Biglerville's Cole Herzing learned between his junior and senior tennis seasons was not to lose his composure.
The lesson served Herzing well on Monday afternoon after he lost the first set to York Suburban's Michael Hogg in the York-Adams League Boys' Tennis Class AA singles championship match.
Herzing didn't panic, even after Hogg earned two match points in the second set.
The Biglerville senior fought off the match points and went on to record a hard-fought, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory and become the second member of his family to win the title. Herzing's brother, Austin, captured the AA crown in 2007.
Meanwhile, Anthony Miserendino repeated as York-Adams Class AAA singles champion by defeating South Western teammate, Quinn Meyer, 6-1, 6-4.
John Schmitt of Dallastown turned back Red Lion's Sam Innerst, 6-4, 6-4, in the AAA third-place match, and York Catholic's Adam Hack defeated Delone Catholic's Adam Fisher, 6-2, 6-3, in the Class AA third-place match.
The championship and third-place matches were originally scheduled for the outdoor courts at South Western High School, but they were moved indoors to Wisehaven Tennis Center when rain made the South Western courts unplayable.
"If this was last year, I would have lost the match," said Herzing, who finished second to Hanover's Joel Garrett in the 2012 final. "I keep my head now. My coach (Bob Brubaker) really calmed me down (between the first and second sets). He told me to take it one point at a time, one game at a time."
No points were more important than the two Herzing needed to stay in the match when serving at 15-40 and trailing 6-5 in the second set. He won both points and eventually the game to force the tie-breaker. Herzing captured the tie breaker, 7-3, setting up a winner-take-all third set.
"Actually, that (facing match points) happened in the regular season," Herzing said. "I was down three match points (to Hogg). I had to concentrate and come back."
Herzing rallied to win the regular-season match, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
He prevailed again on Monday, but not before staving off a tremendous challenge from Hogg. The No. 1 players for their respective schools dueled for two hours in a memorable match that featured some terrific shot-making and loads of drama.
First it appeared that Hogg was going to win, then Herzing seemed to be in control when he bolted to a 5-2 lead in the third, and deciding, set, only to have Hogg rally to make it, 5-4.
Herzing then sealed the outcome by winning the 10th game of the final set at love. He served an ace on the first point and won the next three points by putting away forehand volleys.
Hogg, despite the loss, was able to look back on a highly successful York-Adams singles career, which he capped by playing for a title.
"I never expected to play in a championship match," he said. "It was a blast. The area I really improved in with my game is that I'm able to keep the ball much deeper."
Hogg brought two different rackets with him to the match, but ended up breaking a string on both of them. He played the final half of the last set with a racket belonging to a teammate, Elliot Diehl.
"That (using Diehl's racket) was a bit of a challenge," he said. "I had to get used to it."
Hogg challenged Herzing big time, but the Canners' star was not going to be denied again this year in his bid for a league singles title.
"It feels absolutely wonderful coming back to win after losing the first set and being down match points," Herzing said.
York Suburban head coach Mark O'Reilly said both Herzing and Hogg played great tennis.
"I thought Cole made a good tactical move in the third set by coming in on short balls. He tended to stay back more in the first two sets. The No. 1-seed (Herzing) and the No. 2-seed (Hogg), and it was 6-4 in the third set. They're this close," said O'Reilly holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart.
Dick VanOlinda covers high school sports for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin email@example.com or at 505-5407.