In order to capture New Oxford's first YAIAA tennis title, Dagney Markle had to keep her emotions in check.
As the senior battled her own game against Dallastown's Christie Friedrich in Saturday's YAIAA Class 3A singles final, she rode an emotional roller. But Markle was able to pull out a straight sets victory, 6-1, 7-5, at Wisehaven Tennis Center.
"I was barely able to contain nerves," Markle said. "I'm fine until you get to those last couple of points and then all my muscles tense up. I just needed to take a couple of deep breaths."
After winning the first set 6-1, Markle won the first game of the second set, but Friedrich battled back. The set would go back and forth from that second game on, including Friedrich winning the 14th point to capture the game and even the score at 5-5.
Markle regained her composure and captured the next two games, including the match winner on the game's ninth point.
"When you get to the finals of something, you are a little shakier," Markle said. "You just have to play and not think."
Markle, who was the runner-up in last year's Class 3A final, made it a goal to return to the finals and capture the title this time around.
"It's an exciting time right now in New Oxford," Colonials head coach Travis Martin said. "I honestly thought it would be a disappointment if she didn't win it this year. Her hard work and work ethic and what she's given to the program — there's not a time where she is not trying to get better."
In the Class 3A third-place game, Central York's Maddy Mummert beat South Western's Michaela Sentz, 6-2, 6-2.
Earlier on Saturday, the 2A singles championship came down a pair of sophomores.
Delone Catholic's Ellie Neudecker beat York Suburban's Liv Pindzola, 6-2, 6-1, to keep the singles title in her family. Ellie's sister Alyssa won the crown last season, but was knocked out of the quarterfinal round on Friday.
"I never thought I'd win this (as a sophomore)," Ellie Neudecker said.
Because of Saturday's rainy weather forecast, the championship and consolation matches were moved from to Wisehaven.
The Delone coaches weren't aware of the venue change until just a few hours before the match was supposed to start at 9 a.m. That start time wasn't favorable for Ellie Neudecker.
"I'm not a morning person," she said. "And I'd prefer to play outside."
Ellie Neudecker beat the 2A top seed, Bermudian Springs' Brooke Yurick in the quarterfinal round on Friday and rode that momentum to the title.
"I honestly thought I was going to lose against Brooke," said the fifth-seeded Neudecker, who beat Yurick, 6-4, 6-1. "When she would come up to the net, I would go down the line."
That kind of play helped Neudecker beat all of her opponents in straight sets during the tournament. It also led to a comparison of the Neudecker sisters' games.
"Ellie is more of a steady hitter and likes to stay at the baseline, and Alyssa likes to change up the pace and get people to come into the net. Alyssa takes more risky shots," said Delone's assistant coach and the girls' mother, Vickie Neudecker.
Biglerville's Morgan Orndorff beat Kennard-Dale's Brooke Siebert, 6-3, 6-2, to claim third place in Class 2A.
YAIAA singles tournament
Ellie Neudecker (Delone Catholic) def. Liv Pindzola (York Suburban) 6-2, 6-1
Morgan Orndorff (Biglerville) def. Brooke Siebert (Kennard-Dale) 6-3, 6-2
Dagney Markle (New Oxford) def. Christie Friedrich (Dallastown) 6-1, 7-5
Maddy Mummert (Central York) def. Michaela Sentz (South Western) 6-2, 6-2