HERSHEY - It was always something for Alex Koltun and Henry Overholt.
A seemingly well-placed shot would sail just over the baseline or clip the top of the net. Or an apparently beaten opponent would suddenly get on a roll. Or their own frustration or loss of composure would rear up and bite them at the worst possible time.
Always something to deny the Cedar Crest boys' tennis team's top doubles squad the signature victory they sought.
This time, though, was different. Much different. Instead of yet again falling victim to something, Koltun and Overholt simply were something.
With one thoroughly memorable comeback, Koltun and Overholt wiped out any and all past big-match failures Tuesday afternoon, sending the Falcons to their first district final with a decisive, dramatic 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 1 doubles during Crest's 3-1 District Three Class AAA semifinal victory over Dallastown at Hershey Racquet Club.
The biggest win of Koltun and Overholt's career propels the now 15-1 Falcons into Wednesday's 1:15 p.m. title match at HRC opposite old rival Hempfield, a 3-0 semifinal winner over South Western.
What is now fact seemed highly unlikely after Koltun and Overholt dropped the first set and the first three games of the second against the then-on-a-roll Dallastown duo of Payce Berridge and Kyle Salaga.
But from that
"Just by believing," said Overholt, of how he and Koltun turned around a match that was rapidly slipping away. "Coach (Mike Rohrbach) came out to us (after the first set) and said, 'You were a couple of points away from taking that first
"It was definitely hard," Koltun said. "But I felt like this whole season we've had this happen to us so many times, I'm not letting it happen again. It's gonna happen for us this time. We had to come up for our team, and that's what we did."
Indeed, without Koltun and Overholt's heroics the Falcons might well have been preparing for today's third-place match and have been in need of a win to extend their season into the state tournament.
Though newly-crowned district singles champ
(LEBANON DAILY NEWS EARL BRIGHTBILL )
Mike Klahold and John Schmitt gave the Wildcats what would be their only point with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Alex Royer and Colin Easter at No. 2 doubles, and with Crest's Colin Muraika locked in a tense duel with Andy Murray at No. 2 singles and Koltun and Overholt apparently in a bad way at No. 1 doubles, victory for the Falcons was far from assured.
Anxiety only increased for Cedar Crest after Murray had appeared to seize momentum from Muraika by evening their match at a set apiece with a strong second-set performance.
But while that was going on, Koltun and Overholt were busy with a stirring stretch of tennis that was riling not only themselves up, but also the growing contingent of Falcon backers in the upper level of Hershey Racquet Club. Included among the supporters was Rohrbach, who spoke more like a proud father than a coach afterwards.
"They've been knocking on the door all year," Rohrbach said, "and things just didn't fall their way. They were a little unlucky in the Hempfield match (in the regular season, and Lancaster-Lebanon League finals), but for them to run off 12 (in a row) after being down 3-0 in the second set, these guys deserve it. They've been working so hard, and for them to believe in each other being down 3-0, is just fabulous. I'm so happy for those two."
The comeback was not only the result of simple belief, though. Koltun and Overholt played at an extremely high level over the last set and a half, particularly at the net, knocking off volley after volley and overhead after overhead with great power and precision.
And when it was all over, they celebrated in style, with a joyous shoulder/chest bump that they'd like to repeat and/or witness from their teammates a few more times before this season is in the books.
"It just gives you the jitters," Koltun said of the wave of emotion he and Overholt rode Tuesday. "It gets you all riled up. That's why we did that chest bump. We were just excited. And we're ready for tomorrow. We're just pumped, totally pumped."
"It's definitely something you're going to remember for the rest of your life," Overholt said of both Tuesday's win and the overall run the Falcons are on, which included their first Lancaster-Lebanon League title a few weeks back. "It's not over yet. I still think this team can do pretty amazing things yet. We'll see what happens."