There was no big scoreboard, and cheers from the few dozen spectators standing on the balcony above the court were just as loud for Loyalsock winning matches as they were for Scranton Prep.
So Loyalsock's No. 2 doubles team of Anna Criswell and Sammie Via had no idea which of their teammates had won what in Tuesday's first round PIAA Class AA girls team tennis match at the West Branch Tennis Club. But they soon realized the entire afternoon, and the fate of the team's postseason, was coming down to them as they were the only ones still playing.
All four of the other simultaneous matches had ended, and protocol generally dictates these elimination events stop once the decisive third team point is scored.
So Criswell and Via just kept playing and rallied to defeat Annie Tressler and Kathleen Comerford 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 to lift Loyalsock to a 3-2 victory and into Friday's PIAA quarterfinals at the Hershey Racquet Club.
Via's baseline forehand dropped for the final point, one game after Scranton Prep broke serve, as she collapsed in front of the net embracing Criswell.
District 4 champion Loyalsock (19-0) did not lose a set en route to a perfect regular season, but they said the tight competition Tuesday against the District 2 champion team was more fun than those dominating wins.
"During the game, it's awful and you want it to be over," said Via. "But when it is, and you've got that win, it's really good."
It looked for much of the afternoon the No. 2 doubles match might not even finish, not after Scranton Prep's Kendra Coker dropped Loyalsock's Pam Niditch 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles in a meeting of reigning district singles champs and Emily Johnson beat Kim Levy 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
But District 4 runner-up Emily Niditch held off Grace Reilly 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 singles and Ashleigh Bair and Anna Newcomer won 6-4, 6-2 over Annie Tressler and Kathleen Comerford at No. 1 doubles.
And just in case Criswell and Via were too focused on their match to know, or couldn't make out the blue and green score flaps hanging off each net, coach Rick Zimmerman reminded them after the second set that as seniors this was their moment.
"Obviously at the start things didn't look good, but the key was No. 1 doubles and Emily always gives you a chance for a point," said Zimmerman.
Criswell thought nerves were behind the slow start, but eventually calmed down as one point started leading to another.
"This is the best team we've played all season," said Criswell. "We've had a lot of experience at No. 2 doubles, but after the first set we lost, we were like, 'We're here, let's go.'"
Tuesday's win not only created the Lancers' third PIAA quarterfinal appearance in the last five years, it meant they fulfilled every goal of an unbeaten season, league title, district title, and an appearance in Hershey.
And while the Lancers' haven't scored a team point in those previous Hershey appearance, they hope to do that and more when they play Quaker Valley Friday at 12:30.
"This has been an unbelievable dream-like year, and today's win caps it off," said Zimmerman.
At Hershey, District 3 champion Wyomissing eliminated District 4 runner-up Hughesville, 4-0.
Loyalsock 3, Scranton Prep 2
1. Kendra Coker, S, def. Pam Niditch 6-1, 6-0; 2. Emily Niditch, L, def. Grace Reilly 7-5 6-3; 3. Emily Johnson, S, def. Kim Levy 6-2, 6-2
1. Ashleigh Bair/Anna Newcomer, L, def. Annie Tressler/Kathleen Comerford 6-4, 6-2; 2. Anna Criswell/Sammie Via, L ,def. Emilia Jakubek 6-0, 6-4, 6-3
Records: Loyalsock 19-0, Scranton Prep 16-1.
Wyomissing 4, Hughesville 0
1. Audrey Ann Blakely, W, def. Kelsey McCabe 6-0, 6-0; 2. Greta Koch, W, led Kaylora Thompson 6-2, 4-1 DNF; 3. Caroline Patillo, W, def. Courtney McCowan 6-0, 6-1
1. Maria Trifoi/Allison White, W, def. Kierra Croucher/Ansley Galicic 6-0, 6-0; 2. Carmen Heinly/Hayley Green, W, def. Olivia Gorg/Anna Trevouledes 6-1, 6-2.