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Perkiomen Valley’s Morris, Newman defend their PAC Doubles title

GRATERFORD >> This year’s Pioneer Athletic Conference Doubles Championships in girls tennis included two days of perfect weather, intense play and several upsets in the final results at Perkiomen Valley High School’s courts.

When all the matches were completed Saturday afternoon, host Perkiomen Valley’s defending champions and number one tandem, junior Jasmine Morris and senior Allison Newman, had repeated as tournament champions. The Vikings, who came in seeded fifth, needed three sets to dispose of Owen J. Roberts’ number one duo, senior Camryn Gelting and sophomore Elaina Lee in another three-set match 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Wildcats started the tourney as the number three seed.

Owen J. Roberts’ Elaina Lee, front, returns a shot while Camryn Gelting looks on. (Barry Taglieber - For DFM)

Owen J. Roberts’ Elaina Lee, front, returns a shot while Camryn Gelting looks on. (Barry Taglieber – For DFM)

“We definitely stayed more calm in the last match,” said Newman. “It was cool playing on the court that we won on last year. A lot of it is based on hitting consistent and hitting on some angles.”

“Ali hit some great angles,” added Morris.

Perkiomen Valley coach Jennifer Dixon, a 14-year veteran at the helm of the Vikings who served as tournament chairman once again, was proud of her Vikes’ performances.

“My girls played like true champions,” said Dixon. “I am very proud of them.”

Both finalist teams had to endure three-set marathons just to advance to the championship round.

Perkiomen Valley knocked off Spring-Ford’s top unit of sophomores Tori Alexander and Kathryn Alvarez by scores of 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. The Wildcats engineered an upset in the semifinals as well when Gelting and Lee beat Methacton’s number one team of sophomore Dina Nouaime and senior Sydney Markowitz by scores of 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The Warriors began the tournament as the No. 2 seed.

“It was definitely a real challenge to play them and to go three sets with them ,” said Lee, who also enjoyed a strong tournament at the PAC Singles Championships held two weeks ago. “It was a good match.”

Lee and Gelting were paired for the first time as doubles teammates for the Wildcats. Gelting, however, has had a lot of valuable experience as a doubles player and received all-league honors in the category a season ago.

Spring-Ford’s Kathryn Alvarez, front, returns a shot during the PAC Doubles Championships Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Barry Taglieber - For DFM)

Spring-Ford’s Kathryn Alvarez, front, returns a shot during the PAC Doubles Championships Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Barry Taglieber – For DFM)

“I was second place last year,” said Gelting, who had been teamed with the Wildcats’ Vidisha Pandey, now a sophomore, as a first-team all-league combination a year ago.

This season Owen J. Roberts chose to combine Pandey and Jacey Caplan, another sophomore, as the Wildcats’ second team for the doubles tourney. The Caplan/Pandey team wound up placing sixth after bowing to Spring-Ford’s number two team of Sonal Tyagi and Bianca Caresosa, during the finals of the fifth-place medal playoffs.

That, too, became a difficult three-set match with the Rams emerging with a 5-7, 7-6 (6) tiebreaker, 6-1 victory over the Wildcats.

“She (Lee) is really good at serves,” said Gelting.

“Cam is good at being more aggressive at the net,” said Lee. “I’m real consistent.”

Perkiomen Valley’s players complement one another in a similar fashion

“Jas is the hard hitter,” said Lee. “Allie is just very consistent. She hits every ball back. They are a nice complement.”

In the first set, Owen J. Roberts took a quick 3-0 lead, which included a couple service breaks and a game two that reached deuce. The Vikings fought back to within 3-2 and then 5-4 before the Wildcats prevailed 6-4.

Morris made some key shots with her backhand for game-winners, and Newman held serve with the help of an ace, which allowed the Vikings to take a 4-3 lead in the second set. PV also capped a long volley with a game-winner to knot the set at 4-all on a service break. In game nine, the Vikings rallied from an 0-30 deficit to go up 5-4 and then broke serve with a 6-4 victory in the second set. Newman’s backhand shot at the net provided a pivotal point in the set to give PV a 40-30 lead.

In the third set, Newman held serve to give PV a 1-0 lead. Then the Vikes broke serve for a 2-0 lead with the aid of a lob point. Morris served game three and held for a 3-0 lead with Newman contributing some good hits at the net. PV was ahead 4-0 before OJR got on the board at 4-1 with a service break of its own. PV then finished off the set at 6-2 to end the fine match.

NOTES >> Spring-Ford’s stellar combination of Alexander/Alvarez came back with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Methacton’s Nouaime/Markowitz in the third-place match. … Methacton’s number two team of Katie Benson/Sydney Thompson, the number four seed, and Phoenixville’s team of senior Jess Eldridge and junior Ashlyn Duda, were also involved in the fifth-place playoff. … District 1 play begins Thursday with the PAC represented by the four semifinalist teams of Spring-Ford, PV, OJR and Methacton in Class AAA and Upper Perkiomen and Pottstown in Class AA. Pottstown will send Gianna Epps and Alivia Lopez while Upper Perkiomen will send Carly Bernhart and Emily Brandt. … Singles and doubles medals were presented to the top five finishers during the tournament-ending ceremonies.

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