SOMERSET — Play in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference is fierce and tough for girls’ tennis.
Both Bedford and Somerset compete in the league ,and it came to little surprise that the two foes faced one another once again for the District 5 team title, Thursday.
The two split regular season play and entered with similar records.
The top-seeded Lady Golden Eagles surpassed fourth-seeded Chestnut Ridge a day earlier to stamp their way into the final. The second-seeded Lady Bisons also solidified their way into the final with a victory over third-seeded Windber. Both scores were 4-1.
In the final, the Lady Golden Eagles outlasted the locals with a sweep of the doubles and a victory at No. 3 singles to secure their second District 5 team title to date.
“Today Somerset was better, and they deserved to win,” said Bedford coach Deb Rose.
Somerset had competed in District 6-AAA for several years before dropping back down to Class AA.
Josie Shuke put the Lady Bisons ahead, 1-0, early with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Somerset’s Lorin Harris at No. 2 singles. As the two girls were walking off of the court, Somerset’s Kylie Walker tied the match score with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Bedford’s Jenna Poorbaugh.
Fans, coaches, and teammates sat in suspense while the No. 1 singles match and the two doubles matches played on.
Bedford’s Emily Ruhlman, who secured the district singles title at Somerset just two days earlier, battled with Somerset’s Abby Rosman at No. 1 singles, while both doubles neared the end of their matches.
Somerset’s Mia Rosman and Violet Lopez dropped just three games to Bedford’s Breanna Smith and Emily Casalena at No. 1 doubles to push the hosts ahead, 2-1. The Lady Golden Eagles won the match, 6-1, 6-2.
After dropping the opening set, Bedford’s Harmony Fetterman and Brooke Yarnall attempted a comeback at No. 2 doubles.
Somerset’s Abby Burtner and Becca Saylor pulled through despite the Bedford threat, 6-0, 6-4.
The match secured the victory for the Lady Golden Eagles and their second-straight District 5 team title.
Ruhlman finished shortly after the doubles, topping Abby Rosman, 6-2, 6-0.
“We’re disappointed,” Rose added. “We thought we had a chance to win 3-2.
“Our top two singles played great. Somerset’s No. 3 played consistent, and she gets everything back.
“Our doubles could have played much better. That’s where we thought we would be able to pick up a win.”
The Lady Bisons graduate two from this year’s squad: Ruhlman and Claudia Barnes.
Bedford finishes the year 14-6.