Pine-Richland's Bridgham, Fox Chapel doubles team win PIAA tennis titles
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HERSHEY — For years, Pine-Richland's Marlys Bridgham heard how wonderful the girls state tennis tournament was. Early losses in the WPIAL tournament, however, kept her from qualifying.
She always faced older opponents — Bridgham lost in consecutive years in the WPIAL tournament to Upper St. Clair's Megan Adamo, who would out hit or out rally her.
And so she entered her senior season more motivated to reach the state tournament and, by her admission, having matured.
Her first trip to Hershey ended with a PIAA Class AAA singles championship Saturday after she beat Methacton sophomore Mihaela Codreanu, 6-1, 6-4, at Hershey Racquet Club.
It's the first girls state tennis title for Pine-Richland.
“This year, I was able to play my opponents in both WPIALs and states the way I wanted to,” Bridgham said, “and that got me to where I wanted to be.”
She had to overcome some of her old troubles. Bridgham cruised through the first set and took a 4-1 lead in the second, but Codreanu battled back, winning three of the next four games.
“Playing that first game was very scary for me because I knew if she could win that first game, she could get momentum and then it would change the whole dynamic of the match,” Bridgham said.
“She started to loosen up, and then I felt the tension and pressure. That final game, I needed to relax and pull that out and become the looser player.”
Mt. Lebanon's Callie Frey finished third with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win against Wissahickon's Maureen Devlin.
Fox Chapel duo holds off North Allegheny rally
Fox Chapel coach Alex Slezak spent weeks telling his doubles team of Lacey Cohen and Laurel Shymansky to be aggressive when they're in trouble in a match.
The advice proved beneficial Saturday afternoon. The sophomores beat the North Allegheny duo of Maddy Adams and Tina Li, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1), in the PIAA Class AAA doubles championship match.
The doubles title was the Foxes' first since 2004 and second in program history.
“Being clutch is not hitting the shots in the moment,” Slezak said. “It's being willing to dive into pressure and hit the big shots. They were willing to do that today.”
Cohen and Shymansky defeated Wissahickon's Katherine Devlin and Christie Cesarini, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, in the semifinals Saturday morning.
Daniel Paulling is a freelance writer.
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