HERSHEY — A few weeks back, Dallastown earned a dramatic 3-2 boys' tennis triumph over Hershey.
If everything played out exactly the same on Thursday, in the District 3 Class 3-A boys’ tennis team final, the Wildcats would have been thrilled. In that first meeting vs. Hershey, Dallastown's No. 2 doubles team rallied to claim a thrilling win to sew up the team triumph.
Unfortunately for the York-Adams League Division I champions, things didn’t play out the same.
Sebastian May, Dallastown’s No. 3 singles player, claimed a victory over Hershey’s Anthony Eichman in the first meeting, but Eichman flipped the script in the district final, earning a 6-4, 6-3 triumph.
While the No. 2 doubles team was still alive, moments after Eichman’s triumph on Court 4 at the Hershey Racquet Club, Hershey’s No. 2 player, Andy Chen, finished out a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Jonathan Burns. Those two matches in addition to a victory at No. 1 doubles, earned the Trojans a 3-1 team victory.
It marked the second year in a row that Hershey defeated Dallastown in the final.
“It was pretty much as expected,” Dallastown coach Mark Koons said. “Pretty much on every court. And as we came out a little bit ahead the first time, they came out a little bit ahead this time. All the credit goes to Hershey. Their guys all played great.”
May, who earned a 6-4, 6-3 victory the first time around against Eichman, quickly fell behind 4-0 in the first set. May showed tremendous resiliency, however, rallying back to even it at 4-4, but Eichman closed things out by winning eight of the final 10 games.
“I don’t know that they made any adjustments, but (Eichman) just played really well today,” Koons said. “I mean really well. It actually ended up the same score as the first time, only just reversed.”
Koons knew that Burns would have his hands full against Chen, who finished fourth at the District 3 3-A singles event last year. Even though Burns fell, he played Chen much tougher this time.
“I felt Jonathan really battled and put up a good fight,” Koons said. “(Chen) is one of the best players in the district and Jonathan was right in that first set until the very end.”
The Wildcats (17-1) scored the first point of the battle when Holden Koons, the four-time Y-A 3-A champ, rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Andreas Wingert at No. 1 singles. Dallastown’s top singles player, however, could only root on his teammates from the observation area above the courts.
On to states: As the District 3 runner-up, Dallastown will hit the road for their first-round PIAA contest next week. They will face the District 2 or District 4 champion at a time and location yet to be determined.
The Wildcats would very much like another crack against the Trojans (18-1), but that contest would only happen if both squads made it to the state final. Coach Koons, however, was not too optimistic of that happening.
“That would be a longshot,” he said. “But the message tonight is that I was proud of everyone on all five courts. We competed but they were a little better on some of the courts.”
Dallastown was looking for its first district boys' tennis team title since 2006 and the fifth overall in program history.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.