DOWNINGTOWN — Lauren Simeone raised her arms and jumped in triumph. The senior could not believe what she and the Methacton girls' tennis team had just achieved.
Simeone knew the championship was at stake in her No. 3 singles match against Lipika Gadila and didn't hide that fact from the rest of her team.
"During the match, I got really nervous and thought to myself ' This is all up to me and it's my senior year,'' Simeone said. "I know this was going to be it, so I relaxed and was able to pull (the title) through.
Simone rallied from a 5-4 second set deficit to defeat Gadila 6-4, 7-5 as Methacton defeated Conestoga 3-2 to clinch the school's first District 1 Class AAA Championship at Downingtown West High School Tuesday.
The championship was unexpected for head coach Cathy Miller and the third-seeded Warriors, who had never advanced past the first round of the district playoffs prior to this year. Now, they await their first state playoff match against the District 3 third-place participant next Tuesday.
"Knowing who my singles players were, we know we had a shot,' Miller said. "You got to go out and play. On any given day, you got to show up. Those girls are gamers and felt this was their year once given the opportunity.'
The top-seeded Pioneers had nothing to be ashamed of with the second-place finish. They head to the state playoffs with excitement and confidence they can go far once the tournament begins next week.
That confidence begins in No. 1 singles with Robyn Ferraro, who played Methacton's Mihaela Codreanu well despite falling to the sophomore 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets.
Ferraro was pleased with her performance after falling to Codreanu 6-0, 6-0 in the District 1 Class AAA singles quarterfinals two weeks ago.
"(Mihaela) was able to keep the ball in a little more, but I really cut on my mistakes to the prior match,' Ferraro said. "Overall, it was a much better game.'
The Pioneers (19-1) were the rare underdogs in singles play on this bright afternoon, while the Warriors took advantage of the three matches they need to win the claim the championship.
Lauren Banner fell to Jordyn King 6-2, 6-0 in No. 2 players. Banner praised the Methacton freshman for her performance throughout the match.
"She's a really good player and just makes amazing shots,' Banner said. "(King) is really consistent and doesn't really miss (shots). She really didn't do anything to throw me off my game, but was the better player.'
Like Methacton in singles, Conestoga had the advantage in the doubles matches winning both in straight sets.
Kaylee Yan and Lauren Ge defeated Paige MacDougall and Amanda Amornwichet 6-4, 6-0 in No. 1 doubles while Kaja Michel and Lindsey Taaffe beat Sasha Kurumety and Alejandra Castaneda 6-2, 6-1 in No. 2 doubles.
The sting of losing in the title match did not last long for head coach Fran Tomaselli and the Pioneers, who are looking forward to their first state match against the District 11 champion Tuesday.
"There were no losers here today,' Tomaselli said. "We didn't win, but we gave it our best shot. I told the girls just because they could not win today didn't mean they couldn't win states. We're going to move on, but we're excited for the next game.'
"We're all going to have a great time (in states),' Ferraro said. "It's going to be a blast.'
While Conestoga is looking to go as far as it can in the PIAA playoffs, Methacton is taking a similar approach. Only this time, the Warriors have relinquished the underdog role by being district champions.
"This is a nice group of kids and they are really a lot of fun,' Miller said.