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.
"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.'
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
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