Staff Photo by Vinny Tennis Methacton’s Mihaela Codreanu returns a shot to Conestoga’s Robyn Ferraro in the PIAA Girls District 1 Tennis
Staff Photo by Vinny Tennis Methacton's Mihaela Codreanu returns a shot to Conestoga's Robyn Ferraro in the PIAA Girls District 1 Tennis Championships at Downingtown West High School in Downingtown on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. (Vinny Tennis)

If Mihaela Codreanu's family was rooting for its hometown football team when she was growing up, it would not have been the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL but rather Fotbal Club Steaua Bucureti, the most successful Romanian soccer team ever.

But, Codreanu's interest in sports was not directed at football or soccer. Her primary interest was tennis, a sport she has played since she was a little girl.

Over the years, Codreanu, a sophomore at Methacton High, has gotten good at tennis — very good.

This year, the Warriors' tennis ace captured the silver medal at the PIAA Class AAA Championships and the silver medal at the District One Class AAA Championships. As a result, she has been selected as the 2013 Times Herald Girls' Tennis Player of the Year.

"I started playing tennis when I was six and living in Bucharest,' said Codreanu. "I moved here when I was 11. I didn't study English in Romania. I had to learn it when I came to America. It's different here. But, so far — so good.'

In the PIAA state tournament at the end of the season, Codreanu opened with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Swata Alagar from Obama Academy and followed with a 6-0, 6-0 whitewashing of Archbishop Ryan's Julianne Herman.

In the semifinals of the state tournament against Mt. Lebanon senior Callie Frey, Codreanu lost the first set 0-6 and then rebounded to win the match with sets scores of 6-3 and 7-6 (6). In the state title match, Codreanu faced Pine Richland senior Marlys Bridgahm and lost 6-4, 6-4.


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"The Mount Lebanon girl (Frey) beat me last year and eliminated me in the first round of states,' said Codreanu. "It was definitely on my mind this year. I just had to go back and play how I know I can. I believe in myself and that got me through.

"The finals match was next and I was coming off a tough semifinal match. I felt my body fatiguing. I played my best — but she was a better player.'

Codreanu, who is listed fifth in the Middle States age 16 rankings, posted straight-set wins in the first four rounds of the District 1 Class AAA tournament.

She started with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Lower Merion's Simone Burde and followed with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Garnet Valley's Emma Blake. In the quarterfinals, she blanked Conestoga's Robyn Ferraro 6-0, 6-0.

Codreanu faced Unionville's veteran standout Zaina Zaki in the district semifinals and posted a 6-1, 6-3 win over the Indians' highly-touted senior. In the district final, Codreanu fell to Plymouth Whitemarsh's Christina Kaiser 6-3, 7-6 (6-3).

The Warriors' young standout went through the regular season without losing a match — and without losing a set. Codreanu remained undefeated all the way up to the District 1 championship match when she was topped by Kaiser.

"Kaiser plays differently — and is much more experienced,' said Codreanu. "I tried my best but she plays at a really fast pace and has a great serve.'

Codreanu actually received two PIAA state silver medals this season.

She was a key player on the Methacton team that lost 3-2 to North Allegheny in the state team championship match. She also earned a District One Class AAA gold medal as part of the Warriors' district championship team.

"The thing I was happiest with this season was the way our team did so well at states and districts,' said Codreanu. "We had a great team. And, it's definitely more fun with a team.'

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2013 GIRLS ALL AREA TENNIS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Mihaela Codreanu, Methacton

COACH OF THE YEAR

Cathy Miller, Methacton

ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM

Stef Barkofski, Archbishop Carroll

Nicole Bartle, Lansdale Catholic

Mihaela Codreanu, Methacton

Christie Cesarini, Wissahickon

Katherine Devlin, Wissahickon

Maureen Devlin, Wissahickon

Christina Kaiser, Plymouth Whitemarsh

Jordyn King, Methacton

Belin Mirabile, Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Lauren Simeone, Methacton

Jennifer Stack, Germantown Academy

Rachel Tygh, Archbishop Carroll

ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM

Alyssa Bergman, Upper Dublin

Natassja Boham, Spring-Ford

Natalie Danza, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy

Jackie Finnegan, Archbishop Carroll

Alyssa Hoos, Lansdale Catholic

Schuyler LaBarge, Upper Dublin

Grace Mondics, Archbishop Carroll

Claire Parker, Spring-Ford

Mary St. Antoine, Archbishop Carroll

Maddie Smith, Lansdale Catholic

Jordin Swanson, Plymouth Whitemarsh

Emily Wendel, Perkiomen Valley

HONORABLE MENTION

Amanda Amornwichet, Methacton

Emma Britton, Perkiomen Valley

Victoria Burton, Wissahickon

Alejandra Castaneda, Methacton

Lauren Chiefitz, Upper Dublin

Micaela Cubit, North Penn

Regan DeShazo, Upper Dublin

Jess Dion, Upper Dublin

Krista Goebel, Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Anniak Halstrom, Wissahickon

Rachel Harrison, Spring-Ford

Sasha Kuremety, Methacton

Paige MacDougall, Methacton

Tomomi Mitsuzuka, Spring-Ford

Katie Moses, Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Allison Newman, Perkiomen Valley

Marley Pred, Wissahickon

Emily Price, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy

Emily Richman, Wissahickon

Molly Smith, Lansdale Catholic

Kim Todisco, Lansdale Catholic

Tanmai Vemulapalli, Perkiomen Valley

Emily Wu, Upper Merion