Lewisburg's Ben Koch rallied from a third set break down to defeat Towanda's David Rodenhizer 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the District 4 Class AA singles championship Monday at the West Branch Tennis Club.
"I couldn't be prouder of the way I played today," said Koch. "Even though it was so long, it was probably one of the best matches I have ever played, and one of the most fun. It was amazing."
Koch had a hot serve at the onset of the match, smacking six aces in the first set. He also displayed a tenacious will to win early on, coming back from 0-30 deficit in the ninth game to help seal a 6-4 first set victory.
However, as the match played on Koch's serve seemed to lose some steam. He dropped the second set 4-6, losing three out of the last four games.
"I think I kind of lost my composure with my serves, and after a few double-faults I told myself you either have to get the first serve in or you have to get more aggressive," Koch said.
But just as it seemed that all of the momentum had shifted to the No. 1 seed Rodenhizer, Koch began to battle back.
Down 2-0 in the match's final set, Koch began to play a more energetic brand of tennis.
"I think at the start of the third set he kind of started slow, and wasn't playing as aggressively as he was in the first set," Lewisburg's head coach Matt Barr said. "So for him to get back into that and start getting his feet moving helped him play on the ball a little more."
After going on a flurry Koch went up in the third set 4-2. However, Rodenhizer refused to hand Koch the match and went on a tear of his own, putting himself up 5-4 after the set's first nine games.
But with a 30-0 advantage in the 10th game of the final set, Rodenhizer's momentum seemed to fall apart. Koch battled back to win not only that game, but also the next two, sealing his District 4 championship title.
"Man I just wanted it so bad," Koch said. " I just had to pull it out, I had to."
Koch's victory came just a week after losing to Rodenhizer 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the District 4 team tournament. Losing that match may have helped Koch though, as the Lewisburg senior seemed at ease on the court Monday.
"I learned a lot because I played my game today," Koch said. "Last week I played his game, and that is key."
In the semifinals earlier Monday, Koch beat Caleb Vuocolo of Loyalsock, 6-2, 6-0 and Rodenhizer beat Aaron Dillman of Wellsboro, 6-1, 6-0.
With a district title under his belt, Koch now turns his sights on Hershey for the PIAA Class AA Championships to be held on May 24.
"This is what we have been talking about for a couple weeks now," Barr said of Koch's victory. "It's his time and his chance to go and get it."