It might not look like it from the final score, but there were definitely some very key matches in the Hempfield-Manheim Township girls tennis match Friday.
The three doubles, which opened the match, were all tight, including a 9-8 (4) win at No. 2, setting the tone for the Blue Streaks’ 5-2 victory in a key Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One match at Neffsville.
“The doubles were, by far, the biggest key,” said Township coach John Briner, who hasn’t lost a match in the regular season in his four years at the helm. “Winning all three of those really takes a lot of pressure off the girls because you only need one of four singles.”
Both teams entered Friday’s match undefeated. The Streaks improved to 6-0 in the section, 10-0 overall. They have one section match remaining, Monday against Cedar Crest.
Hempfield falls to 5-1, 9-1.
“They certainly had the advantage after doubles,” Hempfield coach Mindi Bell said. “And they’ve really played some great singles today. They made it really tough on us.”
With the 3-0 lead, Kayla Kurtz wrapped up the victory with a 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.
“Our doubles really did awesome today,” Kurtz said. “We’re glad we won those.
“This was a huge match today. They’re usually our rivals, in pretty much everything,” she added.
Township’s Jade Miller and Sophie Yost took the 9-8 (4) win, outlasting Alex Gregory and Lydia Sullivan at No. 2 doubles.
Also needing extra games in the eight-game pro set format were the Streaks’ Katie Pan and Madeline Sanchez, who won 9-7 over the Knights’ Megan Wendel and Sabrina DeLeon at No. 3.
Avery Palandjian and Kurtz took an 8-5 decision at No. 1.
“Close is an understatement,” Briner said of the doubles matches. “I wasn’t expecting to go out there and win any of those by any larger margin than we did. ... To pull both of them off that were that close was very clutch.”
Should the teams meet again in the postseason, the three singles, two doubles format could make for more interesting results, Briner said.
“It’s always fun to win the section,” Briner said, “but our ultimate goal is always to win the overall league and districts.”
Gregory took a three-set win at No. 3 singles for Hempfield and Sullivan won in two sets at No. 4.
“Our girls were in every (doubles) match,” said Bell. “We had a lot of really, really close games. All the courts could have gone either way.”
In a key Section Three match Friday, Lancaster Catholic coasted to a 6-0 win over Lancaster Country Day. The Crusaders (6-3) remained unbeaten in the section at 6-0, dealing the Cougars (4-1, 8-3) their first section loss.
Catholic can clinch the outright title with a win over Northern Lebanon on Tuesday.
Key matches were Anna Millen and Alexis Morgan winning 8-6 at No. 1 doubles, and Juliet Lamichane and Ellie Weber winning 9-7 at No. 2.