HANOVER — Alyssa Neudecker and her younger sister, Ellie, began playing tennis before they were enrolled in school.
The Neudeckers were only 4 years old when they started swinging a racket.
The sisters' on-court experience was clearly evident on Thursday afternoon when they led Delone Catholic to a key 4-3 victory over York Suburban. Both teams entered the match with unbeaten records in York-Adams Division II.
Alyssa, a junior, and Ellie, a freshman, both won their singles matches in straight sets and then combined to capture the No. 1 doubles match, also in back-to-back sets.
Katie Thomas' triumph at No. 3 singles accounted for the fourth Squirettes' point.
"I was hoping we would win the first two and then one of the others down the line," said Delone head coach Vickie Neudecker, who is also the mother of Alyssa and Ellie. "With the 3-2 lead (after singles), I felt confident that Alyssa and Ellie would win (at No. 1 doubles) because they've been playing since they were little."
Suburban's Bailey Cross pushed Ellie at No. 2 singles. Neudecker won the first set in a tie-breaker before prevailing 6-1 in the second set. Alyssa, meanwhile, missed very little in an impressive 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 1 singles.
Ellie was a key addition this year to the lineup for the Squirettes, who are bidding to win their first league tennis title since beginning play in 2003.
"Ellie's done a pretty good job, and she gives us pretty good depth," Coach Neudecker said.
While pleased with her team's position atop the standings, Neudecker isn't taking anything for granted.
"We still have to go up against York Catholic, and they've been a good program. (The Fighting Irish have won seven of the previous eight division titles). We have to make sure that we're on top of things."
Suburban edged York Catholic 4-3 earlier this week in a match that required two days to finish. (It was suspended by darkness on the first day following the completion of the singles).
The Trojans were playing Thursday for the third straight day.
"I guess we could have moved it (the York Catholic match) back to later in the season," Suburban coach Rebecca Toman said. "But York Catholic has three matches next week, and I don't like to stretch a match out too far. Besides, I felt the energy level was there today. I don't regret the decision (to play York Catholic on back-to-back days)."
Liv Pindzola, a major contributor against York Catholic, came through again for Suburban on Thursday. The freshman won her singles match and then joined with Maddy McIlnay to capture a doubles marathon, which began in daylight and finished at 8:15 p.m. under the lights at the Hanover Street tennis complex.
Pindzola and McIlnay finally prevailed, 6-1, 6-7 (4), 13-11. After splitting the first two sets, the teams played a 10-point tie-breaker in which you have to win by two points. Elizabeth Huh supplied a singles point for Suburban by winning at No. 5.
"Coming in, I thought No. 2 (singles) would be a key, but I was also looking at three, four and five and No. 2 doubles and hoping we could get enough points," Toman said. "This 4-3 match didn't go our way, but you know what? The kids battled, and I'm proud of that."
OTHER GIRLS' TENNIS
Northeastern 4, West York 3: At West York, the Bobcats clinched the York-Adams Division I match in doubles when the team of Laura Zielinski and Courtney Hoff won the No. 1 match in straight sets. The Bobcats also received singles wins from Zielinski, Leah Shaffer and Kathryn McGonigal. For the Bulldogs, Montana Stump and Kiersten Shelton each won a singles match, while Stump combined with Nikki Borgel to win the No. 2 doubles match.
Dallastown 6, South Western 1: At Dallastown, the Wildcats received straight-set singles victories from Christie Friedrich, Chloe Berridge, Angela Friedrich, Madi Reed and Morgan Kistler. Dallastown is now 4-0 in York-Adams Division I, while South Western fell to 2-1.
Central York 7, Dover 0: At Central, Yvonne Peters-Washington, Madison Mummert, Jennifer Elder, Sophie Brink and Sarah Donner swept to singles wins. Brink and Donner also teamed for a No. 1 doubles win.
York Catholic 5, Gettysburg 2: At Springettsbury Park, the Irish got singles wins from Annie Javitt, Erin McBrairty and Mayra Hernandez. Javitt and McBrairty and Carolyn Thomas and Samantha Schwamb earned doubles points for Catholic.
Kennard-Dale 7, Hanover 0: At Hanover, the Rams received singles victories from Alyssa Miller, Clare Boone, Brooke Sieber, Kellie Dandy and Candace Boyle.
Susquehannock 7, Spring Grove 0: At Glen Rock, the Warriors received singles victories from Kristin Endres, Jessica McDonald, Julianne Cassady, Molly Hogan and Jenny Sproul.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.