Despite the fact the Manheim Township girls tennis team swept Lampeter-Strasburg 12 days ago, the Blue Streaks took nothing for granted when the two sides squared off in Monday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League team title match.
In fact, Section One regular season champion Township was so ready that not only did the Streaks not drop a set in the three scoring matches but didn’t lose a game.
Avery Palandjian and Kayla Kurtz pulled 6-0, 6-0 sweeps at Nos. 1 and 3 singles, respectively, which along with the top doubles tandem of Cami Henneman and Julia Briner’s win by the same score secured the Blue Streaks’ win.
“They had a job that needed to be done, and they took care of it,” Streaks coach John Briner said. “Unfortunately, only one, the winner, moves on to the next level, so they know it’s do or die. Every match can be your last one, so you’ve got to put everything into it. They didn’t take anything for granted and played really well.”
Only a sophomore, Kurtz has been rock-steady all season, and Monday was no exception against her friend, Pioneer Kylie Gerhardt. Kurtz also takes her team role seriously.
“I knew how (Gerhardt) plays. She’s a great player, and I enjoy playing her,” Kurtz said. “I take responsibility in my part, doing what I do at No. 3 singles, trying to win my court, and I know they will, too. I really like my game right now. It wasn’t rough, but it was different at the beginning of the season.”
“Kayla is an unsung hero for the team,” John Briner added. “She’s a phenomenal player, and many of the teams we play against she would be No. 1. Being No. 3, she wins a lot of her matches, and that’s a point we rely on every match.”
At the top of her game as she heads to the L-L individual tourney as the top seed, Palandjian defeated Kendal Winters in quick fashion.
The combination of Henneman and Julia Briner looked just as good on the doubles court.
John Briner said it’s rewarding as a coach of an individual sport to see his athletes embrace the team format.
“Tennis can be a lonely sport when you are playing singles out there. Having an individual sport played in the team concept is a great thing,” he said. “They are all great friends. They are all going out for ice cream now. Having it as a team sport is phenomenal, and they really enjoy it.”
Township’s Scotty Reynolds was only a game away from ending her match. The senior won the first set 6-0 and was ahead of Ryan Gerhardt 5-2 when play was halted.
Just like the last time they met, Lampeter-Strasburg’s No. 2 doubles combo of Kati Platt and Cate Caldwell challenged Streaks Sophia Yost and Jade Miller.
Platt and Caldwell won the first set, 6-3 when play retired for the day.