In an “awesome” finish, the Pennsylvania College of Technology coed tennis team won its third straight Penn State University Athletic Conference championship over the weekend. During the regular season, Penn College finished third after going 8-4.Penn StateYork was No. 1 with an 11-1 mark andPenn StateBrandywine was second at 9-3. After Saturday’s first rounds of PSUAC championship action at Penn State’s main campus, the Wildcats lost matches in five of eight flights and seemed out of the running. But then came the unexpected. On Sunday, seniors Rob Kemrer (Milton), at No. 4 men’s singles, and Danielle Trout (Harrisburg), at No. 2 women’s singles, won individual championships and Trout and junior Rachael Emmons (Washington, N.J.) teamed for the No. 1 women’s doubles crown to give Penn College 60 points and a one-point win over Penn State York. “We were not the favorites. At the end of the first day, we weren’t really on anyone’s radar screen. Saturday night, it looked like a York-Brandywine race to the finish,” Penn College coach Aimee Plastow said.
“We had really taken a beating (Saturday). Shane (Burridge, Ephrata) lost at No. 1, Brad (Fisher/Montoursville) was out at No. 2. Jake (Kuska/Mohnton) lost a hard-fought match at No. 3 and Rachel was ousted from the women’s No. 1 doubles tourney,” Plastow continued. “Shane and Adam (Groff/Washington Borough) dropped the men’s No. 1 doubles and Rob and Alex (Clemens/Lebanon) were out of No. 2 doubles contention. On the surface, things looked bleak. York was in six of the finals, Brandywine was in five of the finals. We were in three. I went over the possible outcomes and decided that in the race we had a long shot that meant all the stars had to line up perfectly. All my predictions for position wins had to take place. One change and we would lose any chance of coming out on top,” the third-year coach, whose previous two teams had won PSUAC championships, said.
“We had a ‘secret weapon’ the ladies. We had Rob in No. 4 men’s final, but both Danni in No. 2 women’s singles and Danni and Rachel in women’s doubles. The York and Brandywine girls had defaulted or been eliminated, leaving the possible points for Penn College. Since Brandywine and York were in all of the men’s finals, if they split the wins, and if we won all our finals, there was a chance that we could pull ahead.
“On Sunday, we shocked a confident York and Brandywine to capture the PSUAC team title by one point!” Plastow exclaimed. “It all came down to Trout’s No. 2 match. Facing a strong Mont Alto player, her determination and skills helped her overcome some physical pain for the title. The match lasted several hours with long points and nerve-racking back-and-forth games. Danni pulled it out 6-4, 6-3.
“Our three-peat was totally unexpected, but proves that a team should prepare to win, do its best and never give up. It was a truly awesome weekend for the Penn College tennis players,” added Plastow, whose career coaching record at the college now is 48-7. Other teams and point totals were Penn State Brandywine, 52; Penn State Lehigh Valley, 38; Penn State Mont Alto, 34; and Penn State Hazleton, 27.