FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — The Pioneer Athletic Conference girls tennis schedule makers knew what they were doing when they pitted three-time reigning champion Methacton and Spring-Ford against one another on the season's final match day.
The Warriors and Rams wiped through the rest of the league, setting up a championship showdown between the pair of 7-0 teams.
But a poorly kept secret loomed over the lead-up to the match: Methacton is spectacular in singles. Such is the case when a two-time league singles champion is the team's No. 3 player.
Nevertheless, Methacton coach Cathy Miller, the school's longtime coach extraordinaire, namely in softball, made it a point to note that no team tennis match can be won on singles alone.
The team needs the teams — the doubles teams, that is.
After reigning PAC-10 singles champion Mihaela Codreanu and freshman Jordyn King rolled 6-0, 6-0, at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, and two-time singles champ Lauren Simeone pulled away for a 6-4, 6-1 at No. 3, the Warriors were searching for one final title-clinching point.
Sophomore Paige MacDougall, who went undefeated at No. 3 singles in her freshman season, and freshman Amanda Amornwichet were happy to oblige. The Warriors' No. 1 doubles pairing pushed on after a close first set for a 6-3, 6-1, for the team's fourth and match-clinching win en route to a 5-2 overall victory as Methacton claimed its fourth straight PAC-10 crown.
"It's really exciting,' MacDougall said. "I hope the next year and the next year we can keep going.'
No. 3 doubles team Sasha Kurumety and Alejandra Castaneda rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Trisha Raman and Erin Murray for the Warriors' fifth win. For Spring-Ford, Ellie Graziadei an Kristen Ohl won at No. 2 doubles, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, over Christina Shulman and Anna George while No. 4 doubles team Sonal Tyagi and Gabie Drummer pulled out a close win, 7-5, 7-6 (5), over Helen Zhou and Sydnie Markowitz.
It's been a shift in disciplines for MacDougall, but it's one she's embraced alongside teammate Amornwichet.
"It's been a little bit different,' she said. "It's a completely different game (than singles), but it's been fun. You have a partner supporting you the whole time and it's been a great experience.
"I knew that all the singles were going to be fine. I knew that we (Amanda and I) needed to play the best we've ever played and I think that's what we did.'
Methacton's singles has been more than fine this season. With three singles players that could each play No. 1 on nearly any other team, the Warriors are the first PAC-10 team in quite some time that has the potential to make some noise on the district level.
It's a dynamic Codreanu — a sophomore who placed third at last year's District 1-AAA Singles Championship — relishes.
"It's great. I love it. I've known Lauren since we were younger and when Jordyn came we got to know each other before the season,' she said. "I think we've gotten to know each other even better from playing together on the same team. And knowing we have such a powerful team, it's awesome.'
The comfortable straight-set wins for the Warriors singles players was more indicative of their own quality, not a lack of it from Spring-Ford's top three singles players, Natassja Boham, Claire Parker and Natalie Wright. In fact, Parker and Wright were unbeaten in PAC-10 play prior to Thursday.
Codreanu isn't allowing her focus to shift from the present moment, though she is aiming for a return trip to the PIAA Singles Championships.
"All the matches right now I feel like are preparing me for districts and states,' she said. "Every time I go on the court I want to do my best and work on something. Every game, improve and work on something. The forehand has to be a little better, the backhand, the volleys, everything. One game you feel like the slice isn't working, work on that. The goal is to do my best everyday and give it 100 percent.'
But first, with a newly-minted team title in tow, Codreanu will set her sights on this weekend's PAC-10 Singles Championships, Friday and Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. A couple Methacton teammates just might have something to say about her repeat bid though.