WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
York's Gaby Tersigni and Kristin Dantzler each suffered semifinal defeats during Thursday's Virginia High School League Group 3A State Tennis Championships at Liberty University.
Tersigni, the top seed coming out of the 3A East region, was paired up against Cave Spring's Fallon Delp, the only player in the field to defeat defending state champion Tyler Blalock from Abingdon.
Delp started off the first set by breaking Tersigni in the opening game, putting the York captain in an early hole. The two players exchanged games back and forth until Tersigni broke Delp back to bring the first set to 4-4.
The momentum did not last long for Tersigni, who dropped back-to-back games to lose the opening set 6-4.
"I honestly think my mindset in the first set, I wasn't really focusing," Tersigni said. "In the second set I just said 'move your feet. You've got to get to the ball.' And it worked out."
The second set did not begin much better for Tersigni, who found herself down 4-2 after dropping three consecutive games. Refusing to give up, she battled back to win four consecutive games, taking the second set 6-4 and forcing a decisive third set.
After a 10-minute intermission, both players returned to the court for the final time in the opening match. Tersigni struggled to keep pace with Delp, who seemed revitalized after the brief respite from the heat.
Delp repeatedly played strong forehand shots that forced Tersigni to play on her heels. Unforced errors by Tersigni proved costly with the third game of the second set ending with a Tersigni double fault.
Down 3-0 to Delp, Tersigni scrapped out a win to claw herself within two games. The fifth game of the set was highlighted by a hard spill from Tersigni, who dove head first trying to keep a drop shot near the net in play. Tersigni sprawled to the ground, missing the ball and sending her racquet flying into the net.
"[The dive] woke me up a little bit," Tersigni said with a laugh after the match.
After dropping the fifth game, Tersigni held a 30-0 lead on Delp in the sixth game before dropping four consecutive points to lose the game. Delp closed out the final game of the match with ease, taking the second set 6-1 and ending Tersigni's singles season.
Dantzler's match featured less drama as she took on a laser-focused Blalock. The Abingdon standout used superior court movement and shot placement to send Dantzler sprinting around the court in an attempt to chase down rocketing forehands.
"I just went out there and did my best," Dantzler said. "She was a great player, so I just wasn't prepared enough. I definitely could have used more strategy. I was just out there kind of hitting randomly."
The first set ended 6-0 in favor of Blalock, which gave way to a slightly more competitive second set between the two. In the end, Blalock proved too much for Dantzler to handle, taking the second set 6-0 and ending the match.
Dantzler will get a chance to face Blalock again at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the state doubles tournament. Dantzler and Tersigni will take on Blalock and Haley Stallard, another Abingdon player. The two York girls said they are excited for the match.