By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Qualifying for the District 4 team tournament was a goal the Selinsgrove girls tennis team set prior to the start of the season.
And now, with only two weeks and four matches remaining in the regular season, that goal has become a strong possibility for a young Seals squad that has just one senior on the roster.
Selinsgrove took a big step forward in its quest to reach the postseason when it beat Milton, 3-2, in a Heartland-I matchup on Wednesday.
The Seals (7-5, 7-3 HAC-I), who won all three singles matches on the day, need to finish with at least a .500 record to qualify for team districts.
"It's a good win. We're one win away from making team districts for the first time," said Selinsgrove coach Duke Fravel. "Milton played real tough tennis, and they have a shot at making (districts), too, if they keep playing like (they did Wednesday)."
Liza Smith and Brittney Aucker got the ball rolling for Selinsgrove by winning their respective matches at No. 2 and 3 singles.
At No. 2, Smith defeated Julia Spear, 6-2, 6-1, while at No. 3 Aucker downed Hunter Metzger, 6-2, 6-3.
"Brittney and Liza are just cruising right along. It's the best tennis I've seen them play," said Fravel. "They keep improving day after day, and I'm just really pleased with their play."
Sara Moyer, the lone senior for the Selinsgrove, then sealed the win by taking a hard-fought 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 victory over Alaina Houtz in the No. 1 match.
Moyer, who has been battling an injury to her right shoulder, was down in both sets. In the second set Moyer at one point trailed Houtz 4-2, but the Seal picked up a pair of service breaks to win the next four games and close it out.
"Sara plays tough, and even though she is not a 100 percent she doesn't give up," said Fravel. "No matter how close the match is or how far down she is, Sara is going to stay out there until the last possible moment and fight it out.