Dallastown's Holden Koons, a James Madison commit, talks Wildcats tennis after 3-2 win over defending District 3 3-A champion Hershey. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
DALLASTOWN — The atmosphere at Dallastown High School’s tennis courts on Thursday was unusual for a regular-season match.
The York-Adams League Division I champion Wildcats hosted a nonleague contest against Hershey for a rematch of last season’s District 3 Class 3-A final, which the Trojans won.
Thursday, Dallastown won at No. 1 and No. 3 singles, while Hershey won at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. The fate of the match was down to a tight No. 2 doubles match, which was in its third set once the rest of the matches had finished.
Everyone rushed to Dallastown’s backup court to watch the third set, with each point drawing cheers from either side of the large crowd of parents, students and players.
After Dallastown’s Jack Lynam and Cameron Koons won a crucial point, Holden Koons, the Wildcats’ No. 1 singles player, and several other Wildcats players, cheered loudly and pumped their fists.
“Hey, guys,” Wildcats head coach Mark Koons said to his squad. “Win or lose, remember to treat this one like any other regular-season match.”
Lynam and Cameron Koons completed a remarkable comeback to win the doubles match and give Dallastown the 3-2 victory. The duo fought back from a 6-1 first-set loss, a 5-2 deficit in the third set and two match points to defeat William Field and Andrew Schreck from Hershey (13-1). The Dallastown duo won the final two sets, 7-5, 7-5.
After the win, Mark Koons admitted beating Hershey isn’t like any other regular-season win.
“They’ve been our nemesis the last three years,” Mark Koons said. “More than even winning or losing, I was just really pleased with how we fought and competed all day. … I think it was good for our guys and maybe put a little bit of doubt in Hershey’s minds.”
Holden Koons, who won 6-0, 6-3 at No. 1 singles over Andreas Wingert, said getting revenge on the team that knocked them out of the district playoffs in both 2017 and 2018 is a “huge accomplishment.”
“Losing to them last year in the district final really stung for all the varsity guys,” said Holden Koons, who has committed to play NCAA Division I tennis for James Madison. “Since that day, we’ve really been working to play these guys again. This is the match that we’ve been waiting for all season.”
Looking ahead to districts: Holden Koons knows this isn’t likely to be the last time the Wildcats (15-0) face Hershey. Dallastown and Hershey are the top two teams in the District 3 3-A power ratings, and Cumberland Valley, who lost to both Hershey and Dallastown, 4-1, is the third-rated team in the district.
“We’ve gone through it once, so we’ll know what it will take physically and emotionally to win a match like that,” Holden Koons said. “They’re going to come back firing in districts if we play them again, which I assume we will. We’ll be even more ready for them next time.”
Hershey’s No. 3 singles player and No. 1 doubles players were new, and Mark Koons said they’ll adjust for the next time they play the Trojans.
“I got a good look at those players, and we’ll have some things we’ll change up next time,” Mark Koons said.
Lynam/Cameron Koons mount comeback: After Lynam and Cameron Koons lost the first set 6-1, Mark Koons said the duo showed poise by not giving up.
“Tennis isn’t like football or basketball. The clock is never going to run out on you,” Mark Koons said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Those guys don’t have an ounce of quit in them. They fought until the end. No. 2 doubles is going to be important for us at districts.”
Mark Koons said it may not be his No. 2 doubles players who are under the spotlight next time the Wildcats play a tight match.
“We hope that all our players want to be that last match on the court when it comes down to them,” Mark Koons said. “I have extreme confidence in all our guys that they’re going to fight. I’m really excited about where we’re headed as a team.”
Other matches: At No. 2 singles, Hershey’s Andy Chen defeated Jonathan Burns 6-3, 6-1. Hershey’s other win was at No. 1 doubles, in which J.T. Mullins and Nate Shaw beat Noah May and Aryan Saharan 6-2, 7-6.
Dallastown’s other victory was at No. 3 singles. Sebastian May topped Anthony Eichman 6-4, 6-4.
“He is a beast,” Mark Koons said of Sebastian May. “I don’t know that he’s ever lost when we’ve needed him to win. He’s going to be a tough out at No. 3. He’s undefeated, and I don’t think he’s lost a set.”
Susquehannock 5, York Country Day 0: At Glen Rock, the Warriors received straight-set singles victories from Andy Snyder, Marin Thomas and Billy Lochte. In doubles, Michael Watkins and Alex Walmer won the No. 1 match, while Lucas Reck and Ian McDonald won the No. 2 match.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com.