In Central League girls tennis, the Harriton-Conestoga match has traditionally determined the conference champion, and from 2008 (the year Harriton joined the Central League) until 2016, the Pioneers have utterly dominated, winning 9 consecutive conference championships. But times changed in 2017, when home-team Harriton finally beat ‘Stoga in regular season play, then repeated the performance in last year’s District One Championship match. But the Harriton Rams (State Champion in 2016, State Runner-Up in 2017) had never beaten Conestoga on the Pioneers’ home courts.
The 2018 regular season Rams-Pioneers match had been postponed twice due to weather, and with the regular season due to end on Thursday evening the stage was set on Monday, October 1 for a titanic battle of undefeated teams. The Rams coasted to an early 2-0 match lead on the strength of 1st singles Sophia Sassoli’s straight-sets win again Cassidy Landau, and 2nd singles Saige Roshkoff beating Priya Aravindhan. Soon afterwards, the Rams’ 2nd doubles senior tandem of Lauren Binnion and Roshni Parikh completed a third straight-sets win, pushing the Rams to a 3-0 lead and the brink of victory.
But ‘Stoga would not be denied so easily. Freshman Ananya Krishnan won her first set at 3rd singles against Harriton’s two-time Central League singles champion Nina Hoog, and Conestoga’s outstanding 1st doubles team (Olivia Dodge and Leena Kwak) gave Harriton’s 1st doubles team (Connie Richards and Mackenzie Sherman) all they could handle. Conestoga would go on to win all 3 remaining doubles matches in 3 sets. However, Nina Hoog “dug deep” and rallied against Krishnan, winning a tight 2nd set and then dispatching her opponent 6-2 in the third to secure the 4-3 match win for Harriton.
The Rams’ historic win places them in excellent position to close out the regular season undefeated (remaining matches against non-conference foe Lower Moreland on Oct 2, then Haverford on Oct 3) and gain the top seed in the District One 16-team post-season tournament, which the Rams will open on their home courts on Tuesday, October 9. Two wins in the District tournament would qualify the Rams to return to the State Championship Tournament and pursue their 2nd State PIAA Championship in the past three years.