New Oxford's victory against defending champion Dallastown was one for the Colonials' history books. So what does it feel like to be on the other end of history?

For much of Dallastown head coach Mark Koons' 24 years of coaching, he hasn't had to find out. The Wildcats have been doling out punishment everywhere they go, claiming YAIAA-I division titles, a few District 3 Class AAA titles and even a PIAA championship in 2004.

Falling to 3-4 on the season on Tuesday, the Koons is facing some of the most adversity he's seen as a head coach.

With four of his top seven players freshmen and one a senior in his first year of tennis, Koons said he's been teaching patience, tactics and strategy, particularly in doubles.

"I'll be honest, a week or so into the season I felt myself getting frustrated," Koons said with a sigh. "I reflected a little on it and thought, this is the team that really needs coaching. We'll see how good of a coach I am and see how far we can go with them."

Best No. 1's beginning to clash

The Wildcats may not be in their best form, but no one in the YAIAA is playing better tennis than Dallastown No. 1 John Schmitt (5-2). In five YAIAA matches, he's given up only three games collectively, two of which were claimed by New Oxford's Mike Gruver.

Schmitt played tennis from ages 7-through-12, but didn't touch a racket again until he joined the high school tennis team his freshman year, Koons said. It's taken Schmitt a few years to get his strokes back, but Koons said he's as dangerous as ever now.

"In the last year his game has grown tremendously in the last year," Koons said. "He's starting to become confident and believe in himself. He's going to be a tough out this year."

Gruver agreed with Koons, though he wouldn't say Schmitt was the best player in the league -- not with matches against South Western's Quin Meyer (2-2) and Red Lion's Sam Innerst (4-0) on the horizon.

"Those guys eat, drink and sleep tennis," Gruver said. "They're all tough."

Civil disputed call

During the second set of the No. 2 singles match between New Oxford's Joey Stiles and Dallastown's Tyler Lilie, one point got a little headed.

Stiles ripped a cross-courter that appeared to slap the paint on Lilie's side, but the freshman called the ball out. Stiles contested the call, and Lilie ultimately backed down.

Koons said he had no problem with the reversal, adding that his freshmen were still learning the unwritten rules of tennis.

"Tyler said he wasn't sure, so he gave him the point," Koons said. "If you're not sure, you should never call it out. That's something we'll talk about. It's a learning process for these guys. We've seen some growth already."


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