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MERCURY ALL-AREA: Spring-Ford’s Alexander takes next step, wins PAC championship

Tori Alexander entered the 2017 season on a mission. The Spring Ford junior finished third in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Singles Championship her freshman year and followed that up with a second place finish her sophomore year. In her junior year, a second-place finish just wasn’t acceptable.

“My freshman year, I was pretty happy with third place,” Alexander explained. “Last year I was upset because I thought I could win. But this year I was really determined to win this year because I knew I couldn’t get second again.”

After dropping the first set 0-6 in the championship match to Methacton’s Dina Nouaime, Alexander rebounded to win the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2 to capture the title that had eluded her for the first half of her high school career.

“It was a really close match, but I waited too long to start playing well,” Alexander said. “My matches with Dina [Nouamie] are always so close. I was confident going in, but I was still nervous because I have never lost to her. We play all the time and she’s a really good player.”

Alexander has been Spring Ford’s top singles player since she stepped on campus three years ago as a freshman. She has tallied a record of 38-12 over the past three years, been named first-team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference in each of the past two seasons and finished the 2017 season a perfect 11-0 in PAC competition.

Spring-Ford’s Tori Alexander hits a backhand Wednesday against Methacton’s Dina Nouaime at No. 1 singles. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

The addition of Alexander has also raised the Spring Ford girls’ tennis program to new heights as the team has won back-to-back PAC Championships (co-champions in 2016 with Methacton and Owen J. Roberts), the first two championships in program history.

“Tori has been our top player for each of the past three years,” Spring Ford head coach Todd Reagan said. “She has had such an impact on her teammates and this program both on and off the court. It’s pretty rare for a freshman to come in and be the No. 1 player, but she has been great for us.”

Alexander’s career started at a young age when she was introduced to the sport of tennis by her dad and older sister.

“I never played tennis,” Michael Alexander explained. “I saw a story on Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena Williams) and decided I should give it a try. I started to read books on the sport and watch videos. I tried to train my oldest daughter, but Tori was there watching and she just picked it up.”

Alexander then took her talents across the country, competing in United States Tennis Association tournaments in states like Texas and Florida. Despite her success, Alexander wasn’t fully confident in her abilities until she started to compete at the high school level.

“I thought I was pretty good,” she explained. “But it wasn’t until I started to have success in high school did I realize I was really good.”

Spring-Ford’s Tori Alexander (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

For Reagan, it took until her sophomore year for him to fully realize her potential.

“She was obviously very good her freshman season,” the coach explained. “But when she came back that next summer before her sophomore season, it was obvious she had improved so much from the year before. She is the most talented player I have ever coached, but that transformation she made was really impressive.”

Even with all of Alexander’s accomplishments, she still has her sights set on the one thing that has escaped her grasp during her high school career: a district win. Alexander has exited the District 1 Singles Tournament in the first round during each of the past three seasons.

“Heading into next year, I really want to go to states,” Alexander said. “I’m going to be more focused when I get to districts next year because I really want to do well. I was frustrated with how I played this year.”

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