---- — By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- After suffering two losses to Montoursville's Nicole Payne during the regular season, Shikellamy senior Tiara Bartol got her revenge when it mattered most.
Bartol defeated Payne in straight sets in the second round of Saturday's District 4 Singles Tournament, but her resulting high from the win quickly plunged along with the blustery late-day temperatures.
Bartol's afternoon ended in the quarterfinals as she fell to No. 3-seeded Kelsey McCabe of Hughesville, 6-2, 6-1, at Williamsport High School.
"I'm very proud of Tiara. She had a really good tournament," said Shikellamy coach Mindy Hoffman. "I think she did better than what was expected of her.
"Tiara looked good all day. She just went after everything, and even when she got down a little she just gathered herself and picked things right back up," added Hoffman.
Following her first-round victory over Danville's Katharine Baum, 6-3, 6-2; Bartol faced the sixth-seeded Payne, who handed the Brave a three-set loss early in the season, and more recently a 6-3, 6-1 defeat a little more than a week ago.
Bartol opened with a 6-4 win in the first set against Payne, but the Warrior took an early lead in the second set by winning the first two games.
However, Bartol reeled off five straight wins to take control of the set before closing it out with a 6-3 victory.
Against McCabe in the quarters, Bartol couldn't get her game going and she fell quickly. A number of unforced errors led to Bartol's downfall.
"That was a big win for her against Payne, and I think there was a little bit of a letdown (in the quarters). I think that was such a big win for her it was hard to get back up for McCabe, and McCabe had a very similar game to (Payne)," said Hoffman.
"I've had Tiara all four years and I've seen her improve, and I think it was a real nice tournament for her. Tiara was happy, but of course she wanted to finish it off and she wanted to go to Monday yet and see what happened.
"It didn't quite work out, but I'm still really happy with her performance," added Hoffman.
Other girls from the area to make it to the second round included Milton's duo of Megan Rudloff and Dana Kyle.
However, unforced errors have a habit of making a player's stay in the district tournament a short one, and it was true for the Black Panthers.
In the first round Kyle beat Montgomery's Kiana Gough, 6-4, 7-5; and Rudloff defeated Montgomery's Ashlea Lovell, 6-0, 6-3.
But in round two Kyle lost to McCabe, 6-0, 6-0; and Rudloff battled Hughesville's Kaylora Thompson before she eventually fell by a 6-4, 6-1 score.
"I thought in the first round both Dana and Megan played well and they played their games," said Milton coach Aaron Slusser. "Hughesville played very well and they didn't make mistakes, and they played to their strengths.
"Unforced errors hurt us in the second round."
Case in point: after splitting the first two games of the second set against Thompson, Rudloff lost a long deuce game and then got her serve broken as the Spartan made quick work of the Black Panther.
"When you drop a long game and then lose the next one, Megan tightened up on her swing and she missed some shots," said Slusser. "Both girls made it to the second round, and they lasted longer than most girls today."
Advancing to Monday's semifinals, which are held at 2 p.m. at the West Branch Racquet Club, are top-seeded sisters Pam and Emily Niditch from Loyalsock, plus Hughesville's McCabe and Thompson.
The top two finishers advance to the PIAA Championships held Nov. 2 and 3 at Hershey Racquet Club.