By Stephen Godwin Jr.
MANAYUNK – Redemption and a repeat were at this year’s District 1 Girls’ Tennis Singles Championship’s for AA and AAA Saturday at Legacy Tennis Youth Tennis and Education.
First it was Souderton’s Caitlin Le, who advanced into the AAA semifinals and punched her first ticket to the state tournament in Hershey.
“It was really good,” Le said. “I feel like the stress is over. I was nervous before this match. I just feel relieved that I made it to the semifinals.”
Last year, Le broke her elbow while playing in the Zonno’s Tournament in Oklahoma before her freshman year of high school.
She thought she was just experiencing tendinitis during the tournament, but it was actually a hairline fracture.
The fracture continued to get bigger until a piece of bone broke off Le’s elbow during mixed doubles of the same tournament.
The injury put her out five months, but she still played as Souderton’s No. 1 girl, albeit as a left-hander.
Le said she did not do well record wise, but said her backhand improved and it was an overall learning experience.
This year she received the No. 2 seed in the District Tournament and receiving an opening round bye.
After winning her first match Friday, Le got matched up against a familiar opponent in Central Buck’s Sydney Lund.
Lund was seeded seventh, but won her previous two matches.
Le won the duo’s two matches during the regular season and the postseason match followed suit.
Le lost the opening set 1-6, but rallied to win 6-2 and 6-3.
“I think just grinding through the match,” Le said. “I think my game is to wear down the opponent and I think that really helped and I think that is why we went three sets. I was nervous because I played Sydney two times in high school and I knew she was out to get blood and to get me, so I was really nervous, plus she is a really good player. I had a lot of butterflies, but I somehow managed to pull it off.”
Lund would go on to win her consolation match against Cheltenham’s Eryn Banton 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3.
Lund will now place for fifth or sixth place on Oct. 25
“I definitely played better than I did in the season,” Lund said. “I had a better strategy playing (Le). She played really well, especially in the second and third sets. We both played as well as we could have and she just ended up laying better than I did.”
Le’s coach Ali Aiken was a first-year coach last year and has grown to admire lee’s game.
“She has a gift,” Aiken said. “She has such a good mental process. She always has a plan. I love talking to her between sets because I get down there and she’s like, ‘okay, I know what I am going to do next, which is awesome.”
Next it was Gwyned Mercy’s Genevieve Wurtz repeating as AA champion against St. Basil’s Hannah Carew in three sets of 3-6, 6-1 and 6-2.
“This year I trained really really hard,” Wurtz said. “I played every day in the summer and I kept going throughout the beginning of the fall.
Wurtz said last year during the semifinals she came back from four points down, which made that championship sweeter, but this one was just as good.
She will also go to the state tournament in Hershey on Nov. 3-4.
Also representing AAA was Central Buck’s South’s Mia Groetsch.
Groetsch won her first two matches Friday, but lost to CRN’s Amelia Honer 6-1 and 6-0.
Rounding out the AAA tournament was No. 1 seed Jordan Bradley from DHS West defeating Radnor’s Kanon Ciarrocchi 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals.
The No. 3 seeded Saige Roshkoff from Harrington won sets against Banton 6-3 and 6-2 to advance to the semifinal round.
The top four girls from AAA played for seedings in the state tournament.
Bradley defeated Honer 6-4 6-4 and Roshkoff defeated Le in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
The AAA finals will conclude Oct. 25 with Bradley and Roshkoff facing off. Le will take on Honer for third place.
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