The Harriton High School girls’ tennis team has a rich history that includes many deep postseason runs, including last year’s run to the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals.
After suffering a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Conestoga Sept. 8, Ram head coach David Broida knew a victory against visiting Central League foe Radnor Sept. 14 would go a long way in ensuring his team’s chances of another post-season appearance.
“Defeating Radnor provided a morale boost to the team, after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Conestoga,” Broida said. “The team envisions finishing out the season strong and believes they can make another long post-season run.”
With two matches left on the court and the final result hanging in the balance, the doubles team of junior Alex Miller and freshman Melina Daniilidis, both playing in their first varsity match, delivered the clinching point needed to give Harriton the fourth point needed to secure the win and give the hosts an inside track to a second place Central League finish.
“It was amazing to watch,” said senior co-captain Sonia Groeneveld, who won at third doubles paired with Roshni Parikh. “With Alex (Miller) and Melina (Daniilidis) new to varsity to be out there with the match on the line; both teams cheering each point and for them to come out with the win was a great moment for the team.”
“Our win over Radnor was very important to me because it will hopefully guarantee a good spot in Districts which mean a lot to me and the team, especially after doing so well last year,” said sophomore Nina Hoog, who defeated Kanon Ciarrocchi.
With a talented roster led by the trio of sophomores Sophia Sassoli, Connie Richards and Hoog, who occupy the singles positions on the ladder combined with key senior leadership provided by co-captains Groeneveld, Kit Meiler and Izzy Lushbough the Rams seem poised to make another deep run.
A key component in achieving that goal is the camaraderie the team formed in the pre-season that has continued to blossom throughout the season. At the start of pre-season, the senior co-captains held a Pot Luck dinner and throughout the year they have done different events off the court after cheering each other during the match.
“As seniors we try to form a community,” said Groeneveld. “Tennis is unique. It’s an individual sport with a team aspect. One tradition that carries on every year is the pre-season Pot Luck the senior co-captains host. It gives us a great chance to hang out and bond.”
Hoog said, “The seniors this year included everyone, making everyone feel that they are a part of the team. They are always listening to what everyone has to say, making everyone feel important to the team.”
Broida added, “The senior co-captains – Sonia (Groeneveld), Kit (Meiler) and Izzy (Lushbough) – lead the team in warm-up runs and stretching, but just as important, they provide guidance to me on any item I might miss. They know their teammates very well – their strengths and weaknesses. If I’m unsure of lineup choices, I consult with the co-captains.”