Hours after his team won its first Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I title, Potomac School girls’ tennis coach Marty Hublitz reflected on when he thought his squad’s chance of winning a championship was lost.

About three weeks into the season, Hublitz said Potomac School’s top player, Pearl Nguyen, moved back to her home country, Vietnam. But Potomac School adapted its lineup, and the Panthers’ year turned out differently than Hublitz expected in September.

Potomac School capped its season Saturday afternoon with a 5-4 win over St. Catherine’s School in Richmond.

“If you told me we’re going to be 16-2 at the beginning of the year, I would’ve taken it,” Hublitz said. “If you told me we were going to be 16-2 without that superstar … I would’ve said there was no way that we could do that.”

Hublitz has coached the Potomac School boys’ team for 11 years, and he has been with the girls’ squad for four seasons. He has won three VISAA Division I titles with the boys, and he sought to take the girls to that same level.

In his first year with the girls, the Panthers transformed from one of Independent School League Class AA’s worst teams to a middling squad. The past three years, Potomac School has been one of the league’s best.

“Every year,” senior Anna Lerner said, “Marty has talked about winning states and how that would be such a big deal.”

A one-point loss in the ISL Class AA championship match at the beginning of this month refocused Potomac School’s players to reach that goal. Senior Moriah McDonald said she was tired of losing in the VISAA semifinals, where the Panthers fell each of the previous three years.

This year, Potomac School beat Collegiate School, 5-1, in the semifinals. Then McDonald (No. 1), freshman Lauren Foster (No. 2), sophomore Audrey Lee (No. 3) and freshman Emory Wilson (No. 6) won singles matches against St. Catherine’s.

The Panthers figured the result would come down to doubles, so they practiced in pairs often last week. That training paid off: Lerner and McDonald prevailed at No. 2 doubles to clinch the Panthers’ victory.

Hublitz wasn’t sure whether his players could rush the court because there were still matches ongoing. He told them to celebrate for about two minutes on the court and save the rest of the jubilation until the medal ceremony.

“Anna and I were really confident going in,” McDonald said. “We saw it coming, but we still had to get it done. I’m just really glad we did.”