To call the New Oxford girls tennis team’s postseason run a “revenge tour” might not quite be apropos.
After all, the Colonials would’ve gladly taken their shot at whatever teams were put in front of them.
Though it is fitting that after downing Hershey, which knocked New Oxford out of the 2020 postseason, in the opening round of the District 3 Class 3A Team Championships, the Colonials had a showdown with Dallstown on Wednesday for with a first-ever trip to the PIAA tournament on the line.
The Wildcats were the only team to topple New Oxford in the regular season, pulling out a 3-2 victory all the way back on August 31.
This time around, it was the Colonials who would turn the tables, grabbing a 3-2 victory of their own and advancing to the state tournament.
“The community has been texting me left and right. I walk into a store and they’ve been on us. They love following our team and it’s been incredible,” New Oxford coach Travis Martin said of the win, which took place at RCW Athletic Club in Lancaster.
As ever, the Colonials took an early 1-0 lead in the match as freshman Anya Rosenbach, who recently returned from a knee injury, rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the first singles’ match against Dallastown’s Hannah Sult.
The Wildcats (14-3) didn’t take long to level the match, as Namya Jindal took out Allison Horick, who came into the match under the weather, in straight sets in the second singles’ match.
That was a turn of events from the first time the two teams met, when Horick came out victorious. Luckily for the Colonials, it was their turn to flip the script in third singles, as freshman Kaelyn Balko rolled to a 6-4, 6-1 win over Catharine Lasher to bring the overall score to 2-1 in favor of New Oxford.
“A thing I think I’ve improved on is my nerves, really,” Balko said of the difference between now and the first matchup with Lasher, which she dropped. “I used to be really worried about letting the team down. But I realized that the team always has my back. And I knew today the team was so supportive of each other that going into the match, it doesn’t matter how I do, we’re all going to be a team at the end of the day.”
The win by Balko left the Colonials (17-2) needing just one point from either of the remaining doubles’ matches to take the victory. In the second doubles’ match, New Oxford duo Kylie Wampler and Anne Socks dropped the first set before batting back for a 7-5 victory in set two. In the third set, however, it was Dallastown’s Kylie Sciuto and Chloe Isett taking a 7-5 win and squaring the team score at 2-2.
This meant that it would all come down to New Oxford’s Alex Wolf and Joslyn Loss in the first doubles’ contest. Wolf and Loss won the first set, 7-6, after a tiebreak. Though the Wildcats’ pair of Elizabeth Tony and Jessica Coulson battled back to square the match with a 6-4 win in the second set.
Not to be denied, Wolf and Loss dominated in the match-deciding third set, racing out to a 3-0 lead and never looking back, claiming the final set 6-1 and sending their team to the state tournament for the first time.
“The pressure’s really nice,” Wolf said of her strong performance in a tough spot. “Especially when I have my team up there supporting me, so every good point we play we have them cheering us on. It just kind of hypes me up a little.”
Wolf and Loss are in their second season playing as a doubles’ pairing and say they’ve grown and improved over that time.
“You have to be really patient with each other,” Loss said. “Every single point we have to support each other even if we mess up.”
The Colonials will begin their first foray into the state team tournament on Tuesday when they travel to take on District 1 champion Conestoga.
“They don’t know what to expect,” Martin said of his team. “But you never know, you just never know. At least you get that try so that next year we can build on that, we know where to go.”
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 Girls’ Tennis Team Championships
New Oxford 3, Dallastown 2
Singles: Anya Rosenbach (NO) d. Hannah Sult 6-0, 6-0; 2. Namya Jindal (D) d. Allison Horick 6-4, 6-3; 3. Kaelyn Balko (NO) d. Catharine Lasher 6-4, 6-1
Doubles: 1. Alex Wolf/Joslyn Loss (NO) d. Elizabeth Tony/Jessica Coulson 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1; 2. Kylie Sciuto/Chloe Isett (D) d. Kylie Wampler/Anne Socks 7-5, 2-6, 7-5
Manheim Township 3, Cumberland Valley 2
Trinity 3, Kennard-Dale 2
Conrad Weiser 3, Wyomissing 2