Lady Barons outlast Warwick in opener
Marander Moyer’s fortitude symbolized Manheim Central’s effort against Warwick on Monday.
Moyer and her teammate Olivia Oxenrider were down 4-1 at second doubles, but battled on. In the end, they came back to defeat Warwick’s Meg Barr and Kiernan McNelis 8-6.
Then in singles, No. 1 player Grace Kensinger and No. 3 Moyer both lost the second-set in hard-fought duals against their Warwick opponents.
Both were forced to settle it in super tiebreakers.
But with the match clock ticking toward four hours under a hot mid-day sun, and the outcome hanging in the balance, Kensinger prevailed for a 6-4, 6-7, 10-7 decision over Warwick senior Maddie Class, while Moyer pulled out a 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 conquest of Barr.
That was the difference in a 5-2 non-league win for the Lady Barons in Manheim.
“There were two singles matches left and we had to win one, so it was a little nerve wracking for me, just wondering how it was going to turn out,” Central first-year coach Emily Snavely said. “But we ended up winning both of those and I think the credit goes to the girls. They worked really hard at preseason last week and they’re starting to see the success of how much time they’ve put in.”
Warwick coach Ron Wanner was equally pleased with the effort of his players.
“The girls played well,” he said. “Switch a point here or there and the outcome could have gone the other way. (Manheim Central) was just a little better than us. It was very evenly matched.”
Even at No. 1 doubles, Warwick’s Class and Kelley Hershey were within just two points of the Lady Barons’ Kensinger and Heather Kulp, suffering an 8-6 defeat.
Warwick got on the scoreboard at No. 3, where Cat Mitchell and Caitlyn Rothermel teamed up for an 8-4 decision over Manheim Central’s Ashley Kowalski and Jenny Stoudt.
But it was the comeback of Moyer and Oxenrider which gave Central a slight edge going to singles.
“They fought their way back and I was also very happy with that performance,” Snavely said.
Lady Baron sophomore Kulp defeated Hershey in straight sets at two, 6-4, 6-2, while Warwick junior McNelis blanked Oxenrider 6-2, 6-2 at four, leaving it to the one and three matches to decide it.
“It was right down to the wire,” Wanner said. “If we win both of them, we win the match.”
Class, returning for her second year in the No. 1 spot, helped the Lady Warriors’ cause when she pulled even with Kensinger, courtesy of a 7-6 nail-biter in the second set.
“They both went out and slugged it out,” Wanner recalled. “Grace hits a nice ball.”
Warwick’s skipper credits Class’ consistency as a factor in her success.
“(Maddie)’s improved her serve since last year,” he said. “She can serve some points with it and she moves very well &tstr; she’s quick. And she’s improved her net play. She’s improved pretty much all aspects of her game.”
Kensinger, though, had enough in her arsenal to outlast the Lady Warriors’ top player. The Central senior is playing tennis again following a one-year hiatus.
“(Grace) serves really well, she’s able to kinda pick where she’s going to serve the ball to and she doesn’t rush into hitting a winner,” Snavely said. “She’s very patient in a point until she knows that she can win the point. She doesn’t rush to just hit any ball as hard as she can. She really picks and chooses what she’s going to go for.”
Neither that match, nor the No. 3 match was an easy one. There, Barr dropped the first set 6-4 to Moyer, but made it a new ball game with a 6-3 win in the second.
“She’s consistent,” Wanner said. “She’s steady and she’s a battler.”
The same can be said about Moyer, who put the second-set loss behind her to earn the clinching 10-8 decision in the super tiebreaker.
“(Maranda)’s a fighter,” Snavely said. “She might get down in a game, but she always tries to fight back, no matter what the score is. She doesn’t ever give up. She always works her hardest to improve, no matter whether it’s in practice or in a match. If I would say something to her, she goes right out and works on whatever that might be.”
Snavely credited both Kensinger and Moyer for their gutty efforts in the win.
“They both lost the second set and they didn’t let that loss carry into the third set tiebreaker, which I think shows a lot of mental toughness,” Snavely said. “They kept their confidence and they kept their composure and they played really well.”
For Snavely, it was a nice way to start her coaching career at Manheim Central. A former player for the Lady Barons, she went on to serve as an assistant at Elizabethtown College for three years before taking the MC position.
“I thought the girls played really well, especially for being their first real home match,” Snavely said. “Along with my assistant coach (John Stouch), we’ve planned practices and chosen different skills for the girls to work on, but then to see them (applying) what you’ve been working with them on and see that in a match, that makes you feel good.”
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.