GRATERFORD >> The record books will forever say the Pioneer Athletic Conference had tri-champions this season in girls tennis: Methacton, Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford.
That fact can’t take the shine off of what Spring-Ford accomplished Wednesday afternoon at Perkiomen Valley.
The Rams came through in the PAC’s playoff match to determine the league’s automatic qualifier for the District 1 Team Tournament to defeat annual frontrunner Methacton, 5-2, to earn their first district team tournament place in school history.
“It feels really good. It is really cool, especially being the first team in Spring-Ford to be able to pull it off (make districts),” Spring-Ford No. 3 singles player Jessica Leach said.
Spring-Ford crucially got a sweep at singles through Tori Alexander at No. 1, Kathryn Alvarez at No. 2 and Leach and got doubles victories from No. 4 duo Lauren Ostermann and Maddy Morris and the No. 3 team of Camryn Jones and Elise DiGuiseppe, who got the clinching victory for the Rams’ insurmountable 4-1 lead.
Methacton got its wins at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles through the teams of Katie Benson/Sydney Thompson and Amanda Amornwichet/Anna Ryu.
Spring-Ford raised some eyebrows after topping Methacton 6-1 in the regular season but the team was on alert of the Warriors’ potential. Methacton topped Owen J. Roberts, 4-3, Tuesday to advance to the final of the three-team playoff.
“I think (the earlier win) gave us a lot more confidence knowing that we can pull it off. As a team we are stronger this year than we have been. But at the same time we knew they could win it and we have to be on our toes,” Leach said.
Leach’s performance may have been the most notable by winning 6-3, 6-4 over Methacton’s Sydnie Markowitz after Markowitz won their regular season matchup 6-1, 6-2.
“In the beginning of the season I wasn’t really my best. But as the season has gone on I’ve kept practicing with my team,” Leach said. “(Markowitz is) really difficult to beat but I pulled it off and I’m happy I did. My deep shots were working pretty well. They helped me out a lot.”
Alvarez has been a welcome addition to the Rams’ lineup all season after transferring from Pope John Paul II, where she played No. 1 singles last year.
“Moving to a stronger team put everything into perspective. I’m not the best on my team and I have to work harder to become better and to place at PACs,” Alvarez said. “I think it took some of the pressure off, not being No. 1.”
There was pressure late in her match against Tina Prince, but Alvarez came through in the second set tiebreaker for the 6-3, 7-6 (5) win.
Alexander’s 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-6 win over Methacton’s Dina Nouaime finished after the match was decided, but it was a fitting close contest for two players bound for the District 1-AAA Championships on Friday.
Alexander, a sophomore, is coming off last weekend where she placed second to Owen J. Roberts’ Meredith Lee in the PAC Singles Championships.
“I played good at PACs, but against Meredith I didn’t play that well,” Alexander said. “I played OK today, but if I can get to the level I was at in districts I’ll be happy.”
The District 1 team tournament field will be established Thursday night with matches set for next Monday. Methacton still has a chance to make the 16-team field as an at-large bid
Spring-Ford 5, Methacton 2
Singles: Tori Alexander (SF) def. Dina Nouaime, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-6; Kathryn Alvarez (SF) def. Tina Prince, 6-3, 7-6 (5); Jessica Leach (SF) def. Sydnie Markowitz, 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles: Katie Benson/Sydney Thompson (M) def. Caitlyn Hart/Riley Burke, 6-2, 6-1; Amanda Amornwichet/Anna Ryu (M) def. Sonal Tyagi/Bianca Caresosa, 6-2, 7-6 (6); Camryn Jones/Elise Diguiseppe (SF) def. Rachel Dorn/Claire Fortin, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Lauren Ostermann/Maddy Morris (SF) def. Ari Lover/Anna Hilles, 6-2, 6-2.