By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Both Danville and Milton entered Wednesday's Heartland Athletic Conference Division I matchup searching for that first win to get their respective seasons going in the right direction.
It turned out to be a close battle between the Ironmen and the Black Panthers, but ultimately one team was going to leave the Danville Middle School tennis courts with two losses to start the year.
With the match tied at two wins apiece, Danville sophomore Alika Lopatka pulled out a three-set decision at No. 3 singles over Milton's Julia Spear to give the Ironmen a 3-2 victory.
"I was a little nervous there, but I was really glad that Alika carried it through and did a good job," said Danville coach Mary Jo Baum. "I'm thrilled. (This victory) should carry us to the next match at Lewisburg on Monday.
"We're just going to take it one match at a time," added Baum. "(This win) should motivate them. I think that first loss (a 3-2 defeat to Jersey Shore on Monday) was tough, so now that we got a win under our belts I think we're ready (to go)."
Although Danville (1-1) picked up decisive wins at both No. 1 and 2 singles to take a 2-0 lead, Milton (0-2) tied the match behind a pair of tough wins in doubles.
"The nice thing is we bounced back after a tough (5-0) loss on Monday to Williamsport and won the number of games that we did," said Milton coach Aaron Slusser. "The match was close."
At No. 1 doubles, Hunter Metzger and Jenna Bowersox beat Amber Renz and Jessica Yoder, 7-5, 7-5.
And in the second doubles match Danville's Abbey Culver and Maya Shenoy put up a valiant effort, but Milton's tandem of Caylee Pinchak and Taylor Wolfe still managed to come away with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory.