FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> More times than not in recent years, the girls tennis match between Spring-Ford and Methacton – no matter when it was played during the season – ultimately decided the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship.
That might well turn out to be the case again as both teams came into Thursday afternoon’s showdown at Methacton undefeated midway through the schedule, with Spring-Ford going home in the top spot after a 5-2 win.
The Rams (6-0 PAC, 8-0 overall) got big wins at No. 1 singles by Mia Matriccino and first doubles by Alexis Luo and Chloe Moore. Alice Liang earned an impressive win at second singles for the Warriors (5-1, 7-1).
“The kids know they have a collection of extremely talented teammates,” said Ram coach Todd Reagan. “They also strive to bring out the best in each other.”
Matriccino took a 6-1 first set against Hana Nouaime – defending PIAA doubles champion along with Liang – and hung on for a 6-4 decision in the second.
“I thought Hana played awesome today,” said Reagan. “But Mia’s an incredible player. She’s resilient and tough. She respects the ability of every opponent, but doesn’t fear anyone, and there’s no quit in her.”
Luo and Moore – in their first season playing doubles together – came away with a 6-0, 6-2 win.
“We thought we could play together,” said Moore, who noted her teammate’s excellent groundstrokes. “We’ve been friends for awhile. I think we’re doing well because we’ve known each other for so long. A lot of the games went to deuce. It was a close match.”
“We’re comfortable together,” said Luo. “We just communicate with each other. We really kept each other in the match. We were always setting each other up.”
“Our kids know how good Methacton is,” said Reagan. “But they’re mentally strong and excellent tennis players. They’re scrappy and they want to win. They work hard so that they’ll be ready when they play good teams like Methacton.”
Methacton coach Jill Walker suspects that Thursday’s match once again decided the conference championship.
“That will pretty much be it for the PAC,” she said. “(Reagan) has an outstanding team. They’re so strong at the top. It was great tennis overall. Today, Spring-Ford was the stronger team.”
* * *
Hana Nouaime and Alice Liang are playing singles for Methacton during the regular season, but they’re looking forward to getting back together as a doubles team as soon as postseason action begins.
Last year, the duo won the PIAA Class 3A doubles championship. In 2020, they finished second in the state.
The two accepted coach Jill Walker’s suggestion to play as teammates a couple of years ago and are making it an annual part of their postseason play.
“Our coach said she thought we would have a good chance,” said junior Nouaime. “Once we got pretty far, we wanted to do that again.”
“I think we were already confident that we could play doubles,” said Liang, a senior. “Coming into this season, I was definitely excited about playing doubles with Hana. I was looking forward to it.”
Unlike the past two seasons, when they began the postseason playing singles, this year they will team up as soon as the PAC Tournament begins.
“Their style is very old-school doubles,” said Walker. “They’re not afraid to come to the net. They love the net.
“They’re like sisters. They have a lot of fun together, a lot of chemistry together. Last year, they won states; they have an eye on that again.”
Spring-Ford 5, Methacton 2
Singles: Mia Matriccino (SF) def. Hana Nouaime 6-1, 6-4; Alice Liang (M) def. Evelyn Mejia 6-2, 6-1; Cady Krause (SF) def. Lauren Montgomery 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles: Alexis Luo/Chloe Moore (SF) def. Morgan Couples/Anika Suresh 6-0, 6-2: Carlee Dellose/Dru O’Brien (M) def. Katie Tiffan/Ayushi Jain 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3); Brooke McPike/Kacie Rohn (SF) def. Shannon O’Leary/Julia Miccoli 6-0, 6-2; Bryn Frankhouser/Alexis Grotell (SF) def. Olivia Schneier/Sol Martin 6-4, 6-4.
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