That was the consensus opinion from Elco's Maddie Shaak and Kristi Fidler regarding the outcome of Saturday's PIAA Class AA State Doubles Championships.
Coming into the day's contests with a career record of 19-3, the team of Shaak and Fidler did all they could in the semifinals to hang with an experienced team from Lower Moreland, the runners-up from District One, who combined have 12 district finals medals. Ultimately, Shaak and Fidler came out on the losing end of a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal loss to Arianne Polatnick and Taylor Hoffman.
Up next in the third-place match was District One champs Rachel Benstock and Marni Blumenthal of Harriton, a freshman and senior, respectively. Regardless, Shaak and Fidler, after dropping the match 6-2, 7-5, were on their way to the podium. That was something that wasn't even thought of when the season started but was something that they couldn't help feel a little "disappointed in the moment" about.
"We think it's a bad thing right now because we lost our last two matches," said Shaak on how it felt to get to this point and lose. "But it's really just an honor to be here.
"Looking back on it, if we said the first day of practice we'd be fourth in the state, we would have said, 'Yeah, that's awesome,'" continued Shaak. "Right now I feel like we could have done a little better.
On Friday, the pair of Raiders played perhaps the best tennis of their careers, and Saturday they played well for spurts as they rallied from a 3-1 hole in the second set of the consolation match against Benstock and Blumenthal to tie it up at 5-all, ultimately dropping the set and match, 7-5. They mostly had some difficulties in staying consistent, as Fidler eluded to.
"I think we were nervous," said Fidler on what doomed them on the court. "We had a little bit of nerves, I could tell. After playing so much for so long it becomes a blur after awhile, and it's hard to keep up the consistency that we always play with. Being consistent all the time gets a little difficult after weeks and weeks of tennis."
"Yesterday was a fine day for us," coach Zach Cook said, echoing some of Fidler's statements. "Today they certainly played well for the most part, but when you come up against the best teams in the state, it is what it is. Hopefully, if nothing else, now they know exactly what they need to do in their areas to improve to get further next year. As much as you want them to win-it-all all the time, it's almost nice to have a sour taste left in your mouth because it's something to work for next year."
Next year is certainly something to look forward to for the pair of juniors, who likely figure to be back in the postseason in some form. If it were up to Fidler, those expectations would certainly be lofty.
"I'm excited for next year," said Fidler. "I mean I'm excited for the break (from tennis). Next year should be fun. If Maddie doesn't go anywhere in singles, then we're definitely going to pick it up in doubles and hopefully dominate. You never know what to expect in tennis. I think next year should be fun, after the break."
For now, until the disappointment wears off, Fidler and Shaak will head back to school Monday with their heads held high feeling good about their accomplishments.
"It's just great," Shaak said on the experience. "Honestly, I don't know how I would really describe this. Being here is just unreal. It's real nice just to say we're the fourth best team in AA, and that's really cool to say. Our brothers could never say that. We have another medal they will never have."
Fidler continued with the slight jab at their brothers Freddy Shaak and Trey Fidler, who won the Lancaster-Lebanon League AA doubles championship in 2010, saying, "And another banner, too."
"Yeah, it's just awesome," Shaak said.