Sammi defeats Ali in battle of Exeter’s Snyder sisters to win Berks gold

FLEETWOOD>> The biggest battles fought between siblings are not usually done under the watchful public’s eye.

That was not the case Wednesday in Fleetwood at the Berks League girls’ tennis championships, where Exeter junior Sammi Snyder defeated senior sibling Ali Snyder 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to dethrone her older sister as county singles champ.

The result was an emotional one for both sisters, but especially for Ali, who was in tears for a long time after the match — a jumbled-up cauldron of emotions spilling over. It was not an easy, playful, two-hour and 53-minute encounter the girls experienced.

“Obviously, it was very important to both us,” Ali Snyder said, still fighting off tears 15 minutes after the match ended. “We’ll joke around about it at the end of the day, even though I’m upset right now. I’m more happy for her more than anything. If I had to lose to anyone, I’m happy it was her because she deserves it so much. I look up to Sam as much as she looks up to me.”

Sammi Snyder was emotional as well, but in an alternate sense.

“It’s tough, because it’s almost a lose-lose situation,” Sammi said. “Especially being the younger one. It’s hard losing to your younger sister. She was definitely more nervous than me; I think I was less tight. She was more uptight and stressed. I could tell that all day, and especially during the match.”

It might help explain why Sammi was the better player throughout the first set and deep into the second, where she grabbed a 4-1 lead over Ali, just two games from winning in straight sets.

But something clicked in Ali, down that by much. Suddenly, she became a baseline brick wall, getting back everything. Shots and approaches that worked for Sammi through the first set-and-a-half ceased. From down 1-4 and 2-5 –with Sammi serving for the match — Ali fought back to win five consecutive games and force a deciding third set.

“I was like, if she’s gonna beat, I’m gonna have to make her work for it,” Ali said. “At that point, she didn’t beat me, I was losing it.  I said, ‘I’m going to start hitting my strokes and forget I’m playing my sister.’ The second half of the second set, I started playing alright.”

Sammi struggled to sweep. “I think I thought I wasn’t supposed to win. It was hard to close it out,” Sammi said, “those last two games. She was playing really well. She’s known for getting everything back.”

But the older sister couldn’t push the momentum through to the third set. The set break seemed to refocus Sammi; it killed Ali’s momentum. Sammi captured the first three game of the final set, and although Ali won two straight to close to 2-3, the younger sister closed it out with three straight.

“Third set, it’s tough starting over then,” Ali said. “I felt like I lost the momentum. Sammi’s in shape, she’s got a good mental game. She refocused.”

Sammi lost to Lynn Robertson in last year’s semifinals while her sister was capturing gold. But she’s looking forward to being a teammate again.

“I’m just hoping we can get back together for doubles and be a happy team,” she said.

From a school perspective. it was a banner day for Exeter: Not only were its top two players meeting in the singles final, three other Eagles captured flight honors — Alexis Cramer at second flight, Corrine Grohoski at fourth and Libby Timura at fifth.

Wyomissing’s Ann Kate Schreck captured the third flight title.


Berks League girls’ tennis championships


Top flight

Sammi Snyder (Ex) def. Ali Snyder (Ex), 6-3, 5-7, 6-3

Second flight

Alexis Cramer (Ex) def. Catherine Maher (BC), 6-1, 6-3

Third flight

Anna Kate Schreck (Wyo) def.Lauren Leibowitz (GM), 6-2, 6-4

Fourth flight

Corrine Grohoski (Ex) def. Maggie Mistek (BC), 6-3, 6-2

Fifth flight

Libby Timura (Ex) def. Jess Davidheiser (BH), 6-4, 6-0





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