This article can be found published in the Sept. 13, 2014, edition of the Daily Local News.
The Patriots, who are hoping to land a spot in the district playoffs, were able to secure the win with a 5-2 final in a close match between two of the top teams in the Ches-Mont.
“The East girls play good tennis,” said Great Valley head coach Gerry McGrath. “We told our girls to get aggressive right from the get-go. That was the challenge on every single court.
“You look at the scores and a couple points here or there and it could have gone the other way.”
Three of the seven games needed to go three sets, while two had to have a tiebreaker.
“It was 5-2, although that second singles match could have went either way and we had four match points for (the third) doubles,” said Downingtown East head coach Anthony DeCecco. “We could have won that doubles match. It would have been 4-3 our way just as well as us losing 5-2.”
The most thrilling of the matches came in No. 3 doubles between the Cougars’ Colleen Reilly and Danielle Huver and the Patriots’ Elizabeth Otterbein and Sravya Alla.
The four not only needed three sets to determine a winner, but also a tiebreaker in the final set.
“Third doubles has gone three sets all year,” McGrath said. “I was standing with the one player’s father and I said, ‘You know this is going tiebreaker because it won’t be as painful if it doesn’t go tiebreaker.’ They’ve had to battle in almost every match they’ve played.”
According to Alla, herself and her partner didn’t quite come out with the best effort, though they did fight back from a deficit in the first set and eventually got the overall win.
“I think we had kind of an off-day today,” she said. “We both kept missing a lot of shots. In the first set, we were down 1-4, but we brought it up to 6-4 and in the second set, we just let it go. We brought it back together in the tiebreaker. I really improved on my net-play in that tiebreaker and my serves got better in the second set.”
The familiarity with the extra sets may have given the slight advantage to Great Valley in the match.
“We’re used to it, so it’s not like we get tired or frustrated,” Alla said. “We know we’ll get it back, though it was a little tense on this one because It went to a tiebreaker, but we eventually got it back.”
The other game which could have gone either way was the No. 2 singles between Great Valley’s Torey Powers and East’s Sammy Roberts.
The first set was 7-6 in favor of Powers, with a 7-4 tiebreaker, before she went on the win the second set 6-2.
Though it didn’t go Roberts’ way, the freshman did a great job staying with Powers through the game.
“She’s a good player,” DeCecco said. “She’s mature for her age. She’s a freshman, but she really doesn’t get nervous as much as the other girls do. She has great strokes, competes right to the end and has a good mental game. She’s a fun person to coach.”
The win for Great Valley was a good measuring stick to see how they stack up against not only an undefeated team, but for the season.
“This was a quality win over a quality opponent,” McGrath said. “This was one we had circled a little bit so we could prove something to ourselves. We hope this puts us in a good position to qualify for district play. The more quality wins you can get, the better position you are.”