The Lancaster-Lebanon League can boast having both District Three girls tennis champions this fall.
Penn Manor freshman Catherine Rabatin coasted to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Sarah Guistwite of Carlisle to capture the Class 3A crown, while Lancaster Catholic senior Riley Smith took the 2A title by downing top-seeded Ava Lewis of East Pennsboro 7-6 (3), 6-2 Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Rabatin in a phone call after winning the title. “I’m very excited and I’m ready to play tennis at states.”
“She played wonderful through the whole tournament,” said Penn Manor coach Allie Fetter by phone. “She’s been very focused and really committed, and she stayed with her strategy and didn’t let anyone take her off her game.”
Rabatin got to the final by downing fellow L-L competitor Avery Palandjian of Manheim Township 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals. The two had met earlier in the week in the L-L Class 3A championship, which Rabatin won 7-5, 2-6, 6-0. It was the only set the undefeated Rabatin lost this season.
Palandjian then retired after losing the first set 6-1 against Hershey’s Caroline Corcoran in the third-place match. The top three finishers in both 3A and 2A advance to the PIAA Tournament, which will be held Nov. 1-2 at Hershey Racquet Club.
The unseeded Corcoran had defeated top-seeded Alex Pancu of Conrad Weiser in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Rabatin then had little trouble with the Guistwite, who was seeded fourth.
“I did a really good job of moving forward and taking advantage of shorter balls and putting them away,” said Rabatin. “And I felt good in that aspect.”
“I’m impressed with how level- headed she is on the court,” said Fetter of the freshman. “At her age, to lose one set the whole season and stay focused as a freshman is incredible.”
While Rabatin is just beginning her scholastic career, Smith’s is winding down.
“Definitely, there’s a lot of excitement,” said Smith by phone. “It was a really big win for me, being a senior. I’m so grateful for my family and friends and all of the coaches, all of the people who helped me.”
“I’m very excited and very proud of her,” said Lancaster Catholic coach Victor Fissella in a phone call. “I know how hard she works. ... I was a little nervous in the first set of the finals, but she hung tough and she pulled it out.”
Smith reached the final by defeating Eastern York’s Evelyn Whiteside 6-3, 6-3.
“I really just wanted to work hard in every match and always keep getting balls in, but also being aggressive,” said Smith.
Smith had to survive a tight first set in the final.
“A key spot was 5-5 in the first set, and then Riley went up 6-5,” said Fissella. “Her opponent kind of went down and you could see in her demeanor that she was kind of deflated after that. ... That was the turning point of the match. Riley won seven of the next nine games after that.”
“I knew it was going to be a tough one,” said Smith. “I just wanted to keep trusting my game and knew I couldn’t give up on my game.”
Whiteside went on to earn the 2A third seed for states with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over No. 4 seed Rebekah Schnatz of Berks Catholic.