Exeter emerges from grueling quarterfinal to make District 3 team semis

HERSHEY — It took nearly three and a half hours, but Exeter emerged from its tussle with Hershey bruised but unbowed in a grueling 3-2 win in the District 3 Class AAA girls’ team tennis quarterfinals.

No rest for the weary. The Eagles’ reward for their tenacity is a trip back to Hershey Racquet Club Wednesday in a semifinal match with Cumberland Valley at 11:30 a.m. Those Eagles tripped Lampeter-Strasburg 3-2. The other semifinal pits Hempfield, 3-0 winners over Dallastown, against top-seeded Manheim Twp. The Blue Streaks were given quite a run by Cedar Crest before prevailing 3-1.

The centerpiece of Tuesday’s match against the homestanding Trojans was the struggle at No. 3 singles between Exeter’s Corinne Grohoski and Hershey’s Chandi Desai. The duo went to a pair of set tiebreakers before Grohoski finally prevailed 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4), 6-4.

The match took three hours and 20 minutes to complete — so long, in fact, that two matches in the succeeding series between CV and L-S, scheduled to start an hour and fifteen minutes later, finished around the same time.

“She told me she wanted it badly and she saw it through,’ Exeter coach Mike Herman said. “I said she’s got the heart, and she’s got it. She won the match on serves alone. I’m just really proud of her. Speechless. Just a great, great match.’

Up a set, Desai had Grohoski at 6-5 in the second set but could not close the deal. Exeter’s No. 3 battled back to force a second consecutive tiebreaker, then captured that 7-4 to stay alive. The pair battled during the third frame, never reaching more than a one-game margin before the end when Desai hit an alley shot wide to end it.

“It definitely was a hard one,’ Grohoski said. “(Desai) is a great player and I had to bring my best game. I just told myself I do not want to lose this.’

Grohoski is slotted third in the team lineup behind the Snyder sisters, Ali and Sammi, both of whom cruised to wins in their matches Tuesday — Ali 6-1, 6-0 over Heidi Luise Wingert at one singles and Sammi 6-0, 6-0 over Megan Lewis at No. 2. Hershey, always strong in doubles, took both of those contests.

So once, again, it came down Grohoski, who has gotten used to the pressure. In a similar spot a year ago against Hershey, she endured a 3-hour match to defeat Saira Kothari.

“Last year I did the same, playing three hours, and it came down to me again,’ she said. “We came in second last year and our goal this year is to win it.’

Kothari was paired at one doubles this time around with Ashlynn Searer, and they prevailed over Exeter’s Sai Kurapoti and Libby Timura 6-0, 6-1. Hershey’s Hillary Mason and Nadia Mulder beat Elizabeth Kennedy and Rayne Ruoff at No. 2 doubles 6-3, 6-1 to shift the focus and pressure, once again, to Grohoski.

And once again, she delivered.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply