Nina Hoog woke up Saturday morning with a sense of confidence along with a twinge of nervousness as she prepared for the final day of the Central League singles tournament in which she would hopefully end with having the opportunity to defend her title.
As Hoog watched the final shot by Conestoga High School’s Ashley Griffith, the top seed, sail wide, a sense of pride and a big sigh of relief came across the sophomore’s face knowing she had beaten very strong competition to win her second consecutive Central League singles title.
“I am happy,” said the third-seeded Hoog, following her 6-2, 7-6(2) win over Griffith in the final. “It’s huge to win a second year in a row. There were a lot of really good players who put up a good match and it means a lot.”
“Nina’s teammates and I are totally delighted with Nina’s performance,” said Harriton girl’s tennis coach David Broida. “She’s the first Harriton player to repeat as singles champion since Hannah Drayton won the title in 2011-12. Those were Hannah’s junior and senior years, but Nina is now just a sophomore. Beating Conestoga’s Ashley Griffith is also a major accomplishment, since Ashley has not lost a Central League match all year.”
Before Hoog could think about a second straight trip to the finals she first had to get past Radnor High School’s Grace Hederick, who entered the tournament as the second seed.
“I knew I had a tough semi-final match before even thinking about the championship.” said Hoog.
Buoyed by a quick start, Hoog fought through and emerged with a 6-3, 6-1 win to advance to the final where she would face Griffith who defeated Lower Merion High School’s Simon Burde in the other semi-final.
In the finals, Hoog once again got out of the gates quickly winning the first set 6-2 thanks to a powerful baseline game accompanied by some deft touch at the net. In the second set, Griffith started putting pressure on Hoog forcing some unforced errors.
Trailing 6-5 in the second set, Hoog took a deep breath and began to relax and take the match one point at a time eventually forcing a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Hoog got a couple of service breaks jumping out to an early lead before surviving 7-2 for the win and the championship.
With the win Hoog advances to the PIAA District One Singles tournament that will take place On October 7-8 at Legacy Tennis Center. Joining Hoog will be Griffith, Hederick, Burde, Conestoga High School’s Cassidy Landau and Radnor High School’s Kanon Ciarrocchi. Burde’s appearance will be her fourth consecutive in the District One Tournament.