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Tale of Two Alexes: Jadic wins second District 3-AA singles title; Pancu falls just shy in AAA

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HERSHEY >> “There’s something about Hershey.”

Alex Jadic’s words. She can’t explain it, but she’s onto something.

Jadic, the Wyomissing senior and the No. 2 seed in the bracket, won her second District 3 Class AA singles title in three seasons Saturday evening at Hershey Racquet Club when she defeated Delone Catholic’s Ellie Neudecker 6-1, 6-0 in the championship final.

Jadic pulled it off despite spending the season at Wyo’s No. 2 slot behind fellow senior Vittoria D’Addesi — and a year after not competing in scholastic tennis at all in order to focus on USTA tournaments. She won her first D-3 title as a sophomore the season prior to that, in 2016.

“Honestly, this feels awesome because I never truly expected to get back to this point,” Jadic said. “I didn’t train nearly as much as I did sophomore year. I hardly touched my racquet this summer; I was focusing on my studies. I wasn’t sure I was even going to play until three days before school started.

“Tennis has always come second to academics for me. But it was my senior year and I decided it would be a real shame not to at least try again.” Jadic plans to study abroad in Scotland in pursuit of a medical degree after graduation from Wyomissing.

Something changes for Jadic when the postseason high school tennis calendar arrives in Hershey, which doubles as the site for the PIAA tournament. She admitted to being a deserved No. 2 on the Spartan squad behind D’Addesi this fall, who had rebuffed squad ladder challenges during the season.

But any difficulties in her game — Jadic repeatedly mentioned her serve as being problematic during the regular season — seem to evaporate when she arrives at HRC. Saturday’s final two rounds supplied ample evidence.

She defeated Ava Lewis of East Pennsboro 6-2, 6-3 in Saturday’s semifinal to clinch a spot in the tile match and a states berth, then took Neudecker with relative ease, despite many of those points during the final of the being long baseline rally variety.

“I did not play this well during the season, no doubt,” Jadic said. “I played (D’Addesi) in challenge matches during the season and she beat me in three sets. Eventually, I said that’s fine, I’ll stay at No. 2 and concentrate on winning my matches. I swear, Hershey has something it. There’s something about it. My serve came back; I hadn’t done that in ages. It came back and clicked. It makes me so happy to be back here, I’m not gonna lie. I only have positive experiences here.”

D’Adessi came into the D-3 tournament as the top seed in AA, but her Saturday session was not as joyous. She lost a 6-3, 6-3 verdict to Neudecker, which denied her a spot in the title match and a chance at an all-Wyo final, then suffered heartbreak in the third-place match with a PIAA berth on line.

Down a set but leading 6-2 in a second-set tiebreak, D’Addesi dropped the final six points and the match to Lewis by a 6-2, 7-6(6) count.

Conrad Weiser sophomore Alex Pancu was the second Berks County player to reach a D-3 final Saturday when a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal win over Lampeter-Strasburg’s Sarah Capoferri launched her to the AAA title match opposite Hempfield senior Amanda Hagino, the defending champion.

Hagino denied Pancu by a 6-0, 6-1 score, defending her crown. Despite the loss, Pancu was upbeat about having clinched a states berth by virtue of reaching the final.

“I wished I could have gotten to some of the balls better, but I knew what I was getting into,” Pancu said in reference to the finals match against Hagino. “She had very powerful and very well-placed shots, so that was challenging to go up against.”

Getting two steps further than she did a year ago as a freshman helped reveal a road map of sorts of how to get to the top.

“I see a lot of the girls and how they play and I think I understand most of it, so I think I’ll do well against it next year,” Pancu said.  “I think next year will go better.”

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