Haddonfield tandem wins state title

Posted: October 17, 2012

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - In a tennis match of comebacks, the Haddonfield team of Erica Pascocello and Arpie Senopoulos fashioned the final one and emerged with the state championship in doubles on Tuesday.

Pascocello and Senopoulos rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the third-set tiebreaker to beat Mendham's Veronika Fojto and Lauren Hernandez, 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), in a marathon match at Mercer County Park.

"It seemed like both teams played their best when they were behind," Haddonfield coach Jeff Holman said. "We were fortunate to have the last chance to come from behind."

The doubles state championship by the undefeated (31-0) team of Pascocello, a junior, and Senopoulos, a sophomore, was the second in a row for Haddonfield. Catherine Senopoulos, Arpie's older sister, and Victoria Martinez won the doubles crown for Haddonfield last season.

"To be able to bring it back home after my sister won it last year, I'm honored by that," Arpie Senopoulos said.

Haddonfield, the No. 4 seed, also won its semifinal match over top-seeded Millburn on Monday in three sets by rallying in the third-set tiebreaker.

"It seems like we do better when we fall behind," Senopoulos said. "We rely on each other. We pick each other up."

The taut battle between evenly matched duos featured long rallies, long games, and long sets.

Haddonfield rallied from a 5-2 deficit to win the first set. The Bulldogs held a 4-1 advantage in the second set, but Mendham battled back to win.

In the third set, Haddonfield broke to a 5-2 lead, but Mendham won the next four games to take a 6-5 lead. Facing defeat, Haddonfield won the 12th game to forge the second tiebreaker of the match.

But Mendham forged ahead by a 4-1 score in the tiebreaker.

"They were such a great team," Pascocello said of Mendham.

Haddonfield won the last six points to take the title. Both players won points at the net in the decisive rally.

"I never thought I would cry over winning a tennis match," Pascocello said. "But it was so intense."

Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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