Bucks County Herald

Lions lose to Lower Moreland

DAVID CAMPBELL

Last Thursday’s Lower Moreland-New Hope-Solebury match started at 3:45 p.m.

Three hours later, two varsity courts were still going, including New Hope senior Chloe Miller’s three-set marathon against Maeve McErlean at 3rd singles.

Miller led 5-3 in the first set and had three set points, but McErlean battled back, winning the first-set tiebreaker and taking the match the distance.

“She had two match points against me,” Miller said.

Miller had never defeated a Lower Moreland opponent ... until last Thursday. Miller eked out a 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 decision in the home Lions’ 5-2 setback, a duel that tends to decide the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) champion.

“I always wanted a win over them,” Miller said. “Yeah, it was really satisfying.”

“[Miller] really, really stepped up her game against a good opponent and beat her,” New Hope head coach Karen Douglass said, “so I was really proud of her for that.”

Douglass’ Lions fell to the Lower Moreland Lions, 6-1, in 2016. This year’s match was much closer. Lower Moreland swept the four doubles matches, but 3rd and 4th doubles went on for a good while. At 3rd, New Hope’s Brianna Wilkinson and Jessica Steinberg fell to Anastasia Shchurin and Anna Mills, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. At 4th, Anna Fitzsimmons and Emily Madara lost to Lauren Oblon and Nicole Stone, 7-6, 7-5.

“I felt like everybody came to play [last Thursday] because they know that Lower Moreland is their biggest opponent in our league and I felt like they really stepped up their game,” Douglass said. “Many of the girls played as best as I’ve ever seen them play [last Thursday].”

“I think we’re looking really good,” junior Larissa Borys added.

Borys prevailed over Lower Moreland’s Ally Cheiken, 6-4, 6-2, at 1st singles. Borys, who also played 1st singles a year ago, had never faced Cheiken.

Borys has lost only once this season, to Central Bucks South’s nationally-ranked Mia Groetsch in the Titans’ 4-3 nonleague triumph on Aug. 25.

“That was a really great day for us,” Douglass said of the CB South match. “That was our first match and I thought that the girls played amazingly well. Our doubles, in particular, played really, really well in that match. We won at 1st and 2nd doubles.”

The Lions’ 1st and 2nd doubles pairings weren’t as fortunate against Lower Moreland. The 1st team of Morgan Grabarz and Alyssa Locke and the 2nd team of Kaylee Tao and Kate Heindrichs both succumbed in straight sets. At 2nd singles, New Hope sophomore Bella Kellner lost to Elizabeth Berzin in straight sets.

Berzin was a District One Class AA singles semifinalist in 2016; Borys advanced one step further.

“Last year,” Borys said, “I got second at districts. I was a finalist and I’m hoping to go to states this year.”

“What she brings to her game is consistency and composure,” Douglass praised. “She does not get down; she does not get down on herself.”

As a team, New Hope went down to Lower Moreland in the 2016 district semifinals. New Hope wouldn’t mind a rematch.

“I think we’re a lot better this year,” Miller said.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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