HERSHEY — They had met at the same place four days before. The outcome was eerily similar.
New Oxford’s Kaelyn Balko and Allison Horick won their District Three Girls Tennis Class 3A doubles semifinal Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club, outlasting Manheim Township’s Haley and Jade Miller 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (1) in a match that lasted nearly two hours.
Wednesday, those four had also competed in the district team final, with two of them, Balko and Jade Miller, engaging in a marathon singles match that eventually went to Balko and the Colonials.
“They were down 5-2 in that third set and they came back,” said Jade and Haley’s mother, Carolyn Miller, also the Blue Streaks’ coach. “So I’m really proud of them.
“Anyone can win a tie-break. It was unforced errors. And when they got down in that tie-break 5-0, it was just mentally exhausting.”
Both teams already had qualified for the PIAA tournament in two weeks, but Balko and Horick, who were seeded third, moved on with a chance to win the district title, which they did, beating Reading’s Ashley Retana and Halley Guerrero in another nail-biter, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
Meanwhile, the Millers, who came in seeded second, were 7-5, 6-4 winners over Reading’s Valeria Sanchez and Hallie Guerrero in the third-place match. They’ll play the District Two champs in the first round of states in two weeks.
Not to be outdone – time-wise, at least – Elco’s Ali Bender and Camryn Lehr played an extra 20 minutes after the Millers’ match was completed. But like the Township pair, Bender and Lehr lost in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, to Carina and Cydney Roberts of York Catholic in a 2A semifinal.
Bender and Lehr came in seeded third while the Robertses upended second-seeded Maggie Auman and Monica Lopez of Lancaster Country Day in Friday’s quarterfinals.
“We put a little too much pressure on ourselves to make shots in the third set,” said Elco coach Chris Gyorke. “And we didn’t have to. We missed shots because we were trying to make them too good.”
Bender and Lehr missed out on a chance to advance to states, falling 6-2, 6-3 to Olivia Roth and Ella Knox of Delone Catholic in the third-place match. Only three advance in 2A.
Conrad Weiser’s Emma Perkins and Victoria Waltz, who had a lengthy wait after they won their 2A semifinal 6-1, 6-0 in about a half-hour, went on to win the title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over the York Catholic pair. Perkins earned her third district doubles title with a third different partner.