DALLASTOWN — With the sun beginning to set behind the Dallastown High School tennis courts on Tuesday evening, four players prepared to play a third, and final, doubles set that would determine the outcome of the Central York-Dallastown girls' match.
Five singles matches and the No. 1 doubles match had been completed, leaving the teams locked in a 3-3 tie.
The winner of the No. 2 doubles match between Dallastown's Chloe Berridge and Madi Reed and Central's Maddie Mummert and Sophie Brinks would earn the fourth, and deciding, team point.
Berridge and Reed won the first set, 6-2, but Mummert and Brinks responded by winning the second set, 6-4.
The Dallastown players raised the level of their games in the third set, however, securing a 6-0 victory to lift the Wildcats over the Panthers, 4-3.
The score doesn't reflect how hard fought the third set was. Four of the six games featured at least one deuce.
"Every single time we go against Central it's a close match," Dallastown head coach Deb Gable said. "We pretty much knew it was going to be 4-3, one way or the other."
The match was just the first York-Adams Division I contest of the season for the two teams, but it featured all the drama of a late-season showdown.
Fans from both schools gathered on an extremely warm day to cheer for the players representing two of the league's premier programs.
In the end, Dallastown, which has captured 11 of the last 15 Division I crowns, came out on top.
Berridge and Reed delivered the deciding point after earlier securing singles victories in a match that consumed 3 hours, 15 minutes. Morgan Kistler provided an important point for Dallastown when she won the No. 5 singles match.
Yvonne Peters-Washington and Jen Elder were singles winners for Central, and Peters-Washington and Elder took the No. 1 doubles match.
Berridge, a senior, and Reed, a junior, knew that all eyes were on them and their opponents during the closing set.
"There was a lot of pressure, but it was worth it," Reed said. "I think they (the Panthers) are our hardest match. It was a big win."
Berridge pointed to Kistler's victory at No. 5 singles for giving Dallastown the edge heading into the doubles.
"It was a big advantage having to win just one doubles," Berridge said. "I like having people support us, so it was good to have this match on our home courts."
In the last set of the match, Reed held her serve twice and Berridge won her serve the only time she was behind the line. Berridge delivered a volley winner on match point.
"Chloe and Madi played together last year, and they're very aggressive," Gable said. "I like their serve-volley combination. They both fought so much in singles today, and they didn't want to waste all that energy (used in singles) and not win doubles."
OTHER GIRLS' TENNIS
Northeastern 6, Spring Grove 1: The visitors stormed to victory by taking four of five singles matches. Laura Zielinski, Yifan Qiu, Leah Shaffer and Kathryn McGonigal were the victorious Bobcats. Cristie Jimenez was the lone singles winner for the Rockets.
York Suburban 7, Hanover 0: At Suburban, Samantha Clancy, Bailey Cross, Lindsey Hartshorne and Liv Pindzola each won in singles and doubles to power the Trojans.
South Western 5, Dover 2: The Mustangs didn't drop a game until No. 3 singles in dispatching the Eagles. Madison Bortner and Michaela Sentz turned in clean 6-0, 6-0 victories at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The Eagles won both doubles matches.
Kennard-Dale 7, Biglerville 0: At Fawn Grove, Alyssa Miller, Clare Boone, Brooke Siebert and Kellie Dandy each won in singles. Miller and Boone then combined for a doubles victory, as did Siebert and Dandy.
Susquehannock 4, Red Lion 3: The Warriors trailed after singles before scratching out a pair of hard-fought doubles victories to take the overall match.
Down 3-2, the pair of Kristin Endres and Jessica McDonald staved off defeat by beating Kristina Snyder and Tori Austin in a tight 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 contest.
Susquehannock was then able to claim victory when Julianna Cassidy and Molly Hogan took down Alison Miller and Helen Zeidman, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.