MILTON — For the first time this season the Milton Black Panthers weren’t the kings of their courts.
Milton suffered its first home loss of the year out of four matches when Selinsgrove pulled out a tough three-setter at No. 1 doubles to take a 3-2 Heartland Athletic Conference Division I victory Wednesday at James F. Baugher Elementary School.
“The loss isn’t disappointing. We’re still 7-3 overall, and that’s nothing to hang your head about and we still have a good record going into the second half of the season. Our kids are playing good. We just got to figure some chemistry out,” said Milton coach Nick Fisher.
“Selinsgrove came ready to play, and we have a little bit of a target on our back because we were ahead of them (in the standings), so of course you want to beat the team in front of you. We just let one slip (away).”
The match came down to No. 1 doubles — a match that left both doubles teams exhausted at the conclusion.
Milton’s (7-3) team of Eli Yoder and Zack Burkhart opened with a 6-4 win in the first set. but the Selinsgrove duo of Liam Finnerty and Sebastian DeOsam bounced back to take the second set, 6-4.
Yoder and Burkhart fell behind 3-1 early in the third set, but they would recover to take the next four games and pick up a pair of service breaks in the process to go up 5-3.
But Finnerty and DeOsam wouldn’t go away quietly. They also got a service break before reeling off four straight wins to close out the set and the match with a 7-5 victory for Selinsgrove (6-2).
“This is a league match where they are going to be upset because it came down to them and the emotions were high, but in reality they’ll come back at it in the next match and those two will play fine,” said Fisher of Yoder and Burkhart.
“Psychologically, maybe, moving forward into the playoffs I think (Yoder and Burkhart) will want to beat (Finnerty-DeOsam) more, and I hope that feeds them a little bit. If they had beaten them in two sets (Wednesday) they might not be as hungry, so I’m fine with this. It’s a little bit of tough love and a little bit of ‘hey, I want to beat them next time.’”
Prior to the match coming down to first doubles, Milton jumped out in front 2-0 after Eric Counsil and Kyle Wagner won at Nos. 1 and 2 singles.
In the top spot, Counsil cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Conner Shaffer. And at No. 2, Wagner picked up a convincing 6-2, 6-0 victory over Nick Thompson.
“(Counsil and Wagner) have been doing that all season. Those two — there’s not much to coach there,” said Fisher. “They teach me things every time I hit with them. They are going to go out and compete, and help everyone else out.”
At No. 3 singles Camden Scoggins fell to Dylan Defazio, 6-2, 7-6 (10-8), and at No. 2 doubles Milton’s team of Josh Kern and Tony Ayala lost to Eli Markle and Ethan Harris, 6-4, 6-3.
“I think (the match) was eye-opening — especially the fact that we haven’t lost yet on our home courts,” said Fisher. “Selinsgrove was ready to play, and they brought it. Selinsgrove played well and you can’t take anything away from them.”
Milton is next at Muncy at 4 p.m. Friday.
Selinsgrove 3, Milton 2
1. Eric Counsil (M) def. Conner Shaffer, 6-1, 6-2.
2. Kyle Wagner (M) def. Nick Thompson, 6-2, 6-0.
3. Dylan Defazio (S) def. Camden Scoggins, 6-2, 7-6 (10-8).
1. Liam Finnerty-Sebastian DeOsam (S) def. Eli Yoder-Zack Burkhart, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
2. Eli Markle-Ethan Harris (S) def. Josh Kern-Tony Ayala, 6-4, 6-3.
Central Columbia 5, Milton 0
April 4 at Central Columbia
1. John Duncan (CC) def. Eric Counsil, 6-1, 6-1.
2. Conor Ryan (CC) def. Kyle Wagner, 6-2, 7-6.
3. Will Bodenman (CC) def. Tony Ayala, 6-0, 6-0.
1. Holden Hazzard-Matt Haubert (CC) def. Zack Burkhart-Eli Yoder, 6-1, 6-0.
2. John Bodenman-Alex Tapsak (CC) def. Jared Gagnon-Camden Scoggins, 6-0, 6-3.