The key word in that sentence would be "appeared." As it turns out, the Elco duo still has some quality tennis in them.
The two proved that fact most impressively Friday at the Hershey Racquet Club, rolling through the first two rounds of the PIAA Class AA State Doubles Championships without dropping a set.
Shaak and Fidler, also the reigning Lancaster-Lebanon League AA doubles champs, opened the day by overwhelming Racquel Holiday and Cassidy Griffin of Beaver, 6-0, 6-0, in the first round, then overcame a tight first set to down Nathalie Joanlanne and Sheena Syal of Wyoming Seminary, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 in the second round.
The triumphs not only gave the Raider juniors a spot in today's 9 a.m. semifinal round opposite Arianne Polatnick and Taylor Hoffman of Lower Moreland but also assured them of a state medal, something they could've only dreamed about when the season began.
"Awesome, " Shaak said, using her favorite word to describe her and Fidler's highly successful partnership. "It's great to be going this far; we've never had a season this long before. It's kinda like a dream almost. We've just meshed so well this year."
"It's crazy, but it's great," Fidler said, laughing as she tried to wrap her head around the enormous accomplishment. "I had told my job that I could come back in November, but I guess it's not happening.
After nearly collapsing in the district semifinals before rallying for a stirring victory that propelled them to district gold, the pair took their game to yet another level Friday, playing superb, nearly error-free tennis in the opening-round rout of the Beaver tandem.
Then in the second round, Shaak and Fidler found themselves locked in a see-saw first set that had a chance to slip away after Shaak was broken while serving for it at 5-4.
But after falling behind 40-0 in the ensuing game, the Raiders stormed back to win the next two points to eventually force a tiebreaker they would take on the strength of some stellar play at the net from Shaak.
"We get nervous, and when we're a little tight, we just have to keep the ball in play," Shaak said of the key to surviving the first set. "It's kind of a boring game to play, but you just have to keep hitting the ball in until somebody makes a mistake."
"I like tiebreakers," Fidler said with a smile as Shaak jokingly rolled her eyes. "I was behind 9-2 in a (singles) tiebreaker one time and came back and won it. I don't like pressure, but I feel like if there's so much pressure that I have to do it, I can push through it."
In the decisive second set, the mistakes were rarely made by Shaak or Fidler.
After dropping the first game of the set on Shaak's serve, the pair stormed back to take the next six games and the match, when Fidler held serve at love in the final game.
"The second set we could relax and start going for more shots," Shaak said. "It was really nice."
But probably not quite as nice as experiencing the thrill of winning a state medal, type, of course, to be determined today.
Note: If Shaak and Fidler are able to win their semifinal match they would play for the state championship at 1 p.m.