Philadelphia – Several days after playing pivotal roles in the PIAA District One Class AAA team championship, Harriton’s Sophia Sassoli and Connie Richards followed up their Central League doubles title by capturing the PIAA District One Class AAA doubles title defeating Conestoga High School’s Ashley Griffith and Maddie Wood 6-3, 7-5, Oct. 26 at Legacy Tennis Center.
The straight set win in the finals extended the streak to seven straight matches dating back to the start of the Central League doubles tournament in which Sassoli and Richards have yet to drop a set.
“With seven straight 2-set wins in the Central League and PIAA District 1 Class AAA championships, the doubles team of Sophia Sassoli and Connie Richards has made me a very proud coach,” said coach David Broida.
Although they have not gotten a chance to play doubles together often, the pair has made the most of their opportunity over the past two weeks according to Sassoli who said, “It has definitely been fun and we have played well together. We keep each other smiling on the court and that keeps us energized.”
In a rematch of the Central League doubles final, the match started in similar fashion as Sassoli and Richards won key points thanks to quick net play and solid baseline shots to win the first set.
The second set started like a continuance of the first set and it looked as though the Harriton duo would ease its way to victory. However, Griffith and Wood had other ideas fighting back from an early deficit to level the set at 5-5. From there, Sassoli and Richards clamped down to win the final two games and the title.
“Before the match started we talked about staying energized and being aggressive at net,” Richards said following the match. “We knew they didn’t have a long match before and they would be well rested. I think our serves and put away volleys helped us last time and we tried to do that today.”
“Sophia and Connie elevated their play in the second set after Ashley (Griffith) and Maddie (Wood) fought back from 4-1 to tie the match at 5-5,” said Broida. “They’ve done that in almost every match and their ability to raise their game has been key.”
Griffith and Wood will advance to the state doubles tournament, scheduled for Nov. 4-5 in Hershey.
Conestoga coach Fran Tomaselli added, “I was very happy with Ashley and Maddie’s performance today especially when they got down 4-1 in the second set and they kept fighting and didn’t give up. It would have been easy to do because they had just lost to them last week, but I give them a lot of credit for hanging in there and battling.”