Owen J. Roberts’ Lee wins PAC-10 singles title; Methacton nears team championship

It was the strangest of days.

It was the most usual of days.

Monday afternoon’s girls tennis match between Owen J. Roberts and Methacton, the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s last two undefeated teams, must have seemed normal to most of the lineup.

It was anything but for the Wildcats’ and Warriors’ top two singles players, OJR’s Meredith Lee and Elaina Lee and Methacton’s Mihaela Codreanu and Dina Nouaime.

It was Monday morning, at Perkiomen Valley, when Meredith Lee and Codreanu faced off in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Singles Tournament final, a rematch of last year’s championship round.

OJR junior Lee turned the tables and denied Codreanu a fourth-straight PAC-10 title by claiming a 6-3, 6-2 victory, backing up her run to the PIAA semifinals last season with her first league championship.

“It was exciting,” Lee said of her morning victory. “I think I was really determined. She is one of those people that you think it would be such a feat to compete and do great against.”

Then, her task was to do it again.

The same could be said for Nouaime, the Warriors’ No. 2, after dispatching Elaina Lee in their morning meeting, 7-5, 7-6 (2), for fifth place in the PAC-10 tournament.

Methacton's Dina Nouaime hits a backhand against Owen J. Roberts' Elaina Lee Monday. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Methacton’s Dina Nouaime hits a backhand against Owen J. Roberts’ Elaina Lee Monday. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

Both Meredith Lee and Nouaime accomplished the feat at No. 1 and 2, respectively, while the Methacton team did what they’ve done so many times before.

The Warriors’ depth determined the day by using wins from Nouaime and three doubles courts for a 4-3 victory to effectively secure a fifth-straight PAC-10 team championship. Methacton (7-0) will be heavy favorites in their final two duals against Phoenixville and Pottstown.

Paige MacDougall and Amanda Amornwichet clinched the match at No. 1 doubles with a 6-4, 6-0 victory. Liza George and Maria George were dominant at No. 4 doubles with a 6-0, 6-0 win while Alejandra Castaneda and Rachel Dorn won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3 doubles.

Owen J. Roberts got its three wins from Meredith Lee, No. 3 singles player Jacey Caplan, a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Sydnee Markowitz, and No. 2 doubles team Vadisha Pandey and Sara Maute, who won 7-5, 6-3.

For Meredith Lee, the prospect of facing the reigning District 1-AAA champion twice in one day was ‘a little intimidating.’

Especially since the morning final was her first-ever win over Codreanu, the three-time Mercury All-Area Player of the Year.

“I had my butt handed to me (in our past matches),” Lee said. “Going into the (championship) match, you don’t really have anything to lose. You don’t have anything to live up to. That allowed me to swing freely and not be tight and more nervous.”

There wasn’t much time for the nerves to build in the afternoon. Codreanu took the court feeling ill and retired from the match down 3-0 in the first set.

It was a disappointing day for Codreanu, who said she is still eyeing strong runs in districts and states, where she reached the final as a sophomore in 2013.

“It’s not a win you feel great about. It’s sad that she had to pull out,” Lee said.

Methacton's Mihaela Codreanu watches her shot. (Barry Taglieber - For The Mercury)
Methacton’s Mihaela Codreanu watches her shot. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)

There was plenty of reason to ‘feel great’ from winning the PAC-10 championship though.

“It gives me a lot of confidence but I’m still going to stress about the coming matches so I don’t become lazy and slack off,” Lee said. “There are so many great people to play against.”
MacDougall and Amornwichet exemplify the success Methacton girls tennis has had since joining the PAC-10 by playing quality doubles, communicating and working as a team.

It’s a seasoned team as they were a pair during the Warriors’ PIAA silver medal finish in 2013 and won the PAC-10 doubles tournament in 2014.

“We played two years ago and we really like playing together. We mold and fit with each other really nicely,” MacDougall said.

“We came into the season thinking we were going to play with each other so we got to train more together,” Amornwichet said.

That left Methacton feeling confident in the closing stages with the match officially tied 3-3 but MacDougall and Amornwichet rolling in the second set.

“We’re trying to go to districts on our own and make it further (than last year),” MacDougall said.

While doubles must wait – the PAC-10 doubles tournament will be staged in two weeks – there’s only a few days for OJR and Methacton’s top singles players to recover from their unusual day.

“I feel pretty good,” Meredith Lee said. “I’m a little tired; more than usual today.”

NOTES >> In the PAC-10 singles tournament third-place match, Spring-Ford’s Tori Alexander defeated Phoenixville’s Julia Gumieniak, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 (super tiebreaker). The District 1 Singles Championships are set for Thursday and Saturday at Healthplex in Springfield. The AAA final will be staged Oct. 28.
Methacton 4, Owen J. Roberts 3
Singles: Meredith Lee (OJR) def. Mihaela Codreanu, 3-0, ret.; Dina Nouaime (M) def. Elaina Lee, 6-4, 6-4; Jacey Caplan (OJR) def. Sydnee Markowitz, 6-0, 6-4.
Doubles: Paige MacDougall/Amanda Amornwichet (M) def. Camryn Gelting/Delaney Kent, 6-4, 6-0; Vadisha Pandey/Sara Maute (OJR) def. Katie Benson/Sydney Thompson, 7-5, 6-3; Alejandra Castaneda/Rachel Dorn (M) def. Lauren Lotka/Erika Shimer, 6-3, 6-2; Liza George/Maria George (M) def. Emily Haverstick/Chloe Doyle, 6-0, 6-0.

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