"I'm not sure what was happening to us in that first set when we got down, 5-2, except that we just weren't hitting our returns as well as we usually do," Schneider said. "At that point, we started to get more aggressive, and I could feel the match turning around."
Gratz said she never believed the match was out of reach despite the three- game deficit in the first set.
"The key for Christina and I was just to keep talking to each other and not lose our confidence," Gratz said. "When we got back to 5-3, I felt the turnaround. Then, in the second set, we just starting have fun."
The loss was Middle Township's third 3-2 defeat of the season. The Panthers, who do not have a senior in the starting lineup, had lost by that score to No. 1 Cherry Hill East and to No. 3 Moorestown, both in the Moorestown Classic. Middle is now 8-3 overall.
"This match will definitely help us when it comes time for the Group 2 tournament," said Middle Township coach Tracey Hall, who is in her second year. "Unfortunately, our division is pretty weak in girls' tennis. If we saw competition like Vineland all the time, it would really help us improve."
Middle's Regan Campbell defeated Laura Leslie, 6-0, 6-2, at first singles to improve to 8-0. Alethea Desrosiers gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Danielle Schneider at second singles. Desrosiers is 10-0.
Vineland picked up its first win at first doubles when Lauren Morello and Melissa Canino downed Joanna Newdeck and Allison Brewer, 6-3, 6-2.