York Suburban outlasts perennial York-Adams Division II girls' tennis power York Catholic
When they walked off the court on Wednesday afternoon, York Suburban's Maddy McIlney and Liv Pindzola were mobbed by their cheering teammates.
The senior and the freshman delivered the deciding doubles point to push the Trojans past York Catholic, 4-3, in a key clash of York-Adams Division II tennis rivals.
The match, which was suspended by darkness on Tuesday with Suburban leading, 3-2, was resumed Wednesday.
When play resumed, York Catholic's Carolyn Thomas and Samantha Schwamb completed a 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 1 doubles, leaving the outcome to the No. 2 doubles match, where McIlney and Pindzola faced York Catholic's Annie Javitt and Erin McBrairty.
After losing the first set in a tie-breaker, McIlney and Pindzola rallied to win 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4.
The Suburban teammates trailed 3-2 in the third set, but after McIlney held serve, she and Pindzola broke serve to take the lead for good at 4-3.
"It was absolutely nerve racking, but it felt nice to have all the attention," McIlney said when asked what it was like to have everyone, players and fans, focused on her doubles match. "After we lost that first set, I was thinking about all the things we did wrong."
A senior combining with a freshman is an unusual combination, but McIlney and Pindzola make it work.
"We were a little nervous, but we were still really positive," Pindzola said. "Maddy high fives between points, and we don't get down on ourselves."
McIlney and Pindzola made an adjustment after the first set, which Suburban head coach Rebecca Toman felt helped fuel the comeback.
"They kept the ball away from the net person," Toman said. "The thing with Maddy and Liv is that they don't let a mistake interfere with them keeping positive."
Both McIlney and Pindzola can hit winners off their ground strokes.
"Maddy's always been a strong doubles player, and she moves well on the court," Toman said. "Liv has been huge joining us this year. She has beautiful strokes, but she came to us without match experience."
Pindzola, along with teaming with McIlney, won the No. 4 singles match.
"She (Pindzola) said to me: 'Coach, it doesn't matter what court I play on, they're all worth one point,'" Toman said.
Toman was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief after the Trojans' remained unbeaten (4-0 overall). She praised her team's opponent, which has dominated Division II, winning seven of the last eight titles.
"The York Catholic girls are tough. York Catholic does a great job of mixing up their shots," Toman said.
The Suburban girls have been extremely tough so far despite losing their top three players from last year, along with their No. 6 and No. 7 players, to graduation.
"I have great senior leadership," Toman said. "Some of the kids playing this year were playing exhibitions last year, and last year's seniors told them to prepare well because they'll be playing varsity next year."
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.