HERSHEY — Central York boys' tennis coach Scott Jensenius was able to look at the big picture after his team's season came to an end in the District 3-AAA Team Tournament.
"It's disappointing, but we had a good season (11-4)," Jensenius said following the Panthers' 3-1 loss to Hershey in the quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon. "We had opportunities on every court. When you lose the first set, you have to find a way to win the second set, and we did that on two courts."
Central's Chris Maderitz, after losing the first set at No. 1 singles to Dante Falcucci, rallied to take the second set. Hershey's freshman star, though, responded by not losing a game in third set to close out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory.
"Dante turned on the heat (in the third set)," Jensenius said. "He was coming to the net and putting a lot more balls in play."
Central's No. 1 doubles team of Austin Pokopec and Corey Caskey dropped the first set, 7-5, but rebounded and won the second set, 6-1. The Panthers' duo was leading 4-3 in the third-and-deciding set when the match was stopped because a team winner had been determined.
Central's Connor Bacha appeared to be headed for a third set at No. 3 singles when he fell behind Hershey's Harry Blackall, 5-2, in the second set. However, Bacha refused to go down. He won five straight games to close out a 6-3, 7-5 victory, earning Central's only point of the day.
"I was up 2-0 (in the second set), then it was 2-1, and I was getting a little tentative," Bacha said. "I needed to get out of that, and that's when I started hitting out again. That (hitting out) seems to keep working out for me."
Bacha, who also won his opening-round match last Thursday, completed a 2-for-2 tournament.
"Connor played excellent," Jensenius said. "The first set, he played great tennis and broke two strings. The second set, he got a little tight and got down 2-5. He got a little bit of momentum and kept it going and pulled off a 7-5 win."
The Panthers' junior played some of his finest tennis in the tournament.
"These were probably my two best matches (of the season)," he said. "I think if I would have played that way over the course of the season, I would have won all my matches. There's always room for improvement. I want to improve on my volleys, backhands and approach shots."
Following his match, Bacha left the court at the Hershey Racquet Club and climbed the stairs to the spectators' area to cheer on his teammates.
"Watching, it's pretty tough," he said. "You want everyone to win, but all you can do is cheer them on and hope for the best. This is my first time playing team districts, and I thought we did a little better than I thought we would. (Central, the No. 12 seed, upset No. 5 Cedar Crest before bowing to No. 4 Hershey). It would be nice to make it to districts again (next season) and make it past where we did today."
South Western wins: While Central's district run ended, South Western continued its run through the AAA bracket. The third-seeded Mustangs blanked No. 11 Central Dauphin, 3-0. South Western will face No. 2 Hempfield in the semifinals. The match is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Hempfield.
The Mustangs' Joe Harrison defeated Aaron Gold, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 3 singles, and South Western swept the doubles. Ben Harrison and Shane O'Reilly teamed to best Zach Fogelsanger and Michael Henning, 6-2, 6-4, and Patrick Kane and Cameron Nathanson topped Dante Bressi and Andre Orbeta, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
The No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches were not completed.
– Reach Dick VanOlinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.