Good Counsel junior Melinda Yan didn't expect to be in this role heading into the season. After leading the Falcons last fall to their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls' tennis title since 1996 as the team's top singles player, Yan was bumped to the No. 2 singles position this year.
But she didn't mind: Yan was proud and even happy when freshman Jordan Grayson took over the top spot.
It meant the Falcons would almost certainly be the team to beat.
"I knew Jordan was a better player than me," Yan said. "It's fun playing on the team either way."
On Monday at Olney Manor Recreational Park, Grayson and Yan clinched the WCAC championship for Good Counsel with an 8-2 win over Bishop O'Connell freshman Isabelle Chang and junior Ola Barrett at No. 1 doubles. The Falcons finished with 37 points, followed by St. John's (26) and O'Connell (20).
Good Counsel had to hold off a strong showing from the Cadets, who were leading by four heading into Monday's final.
Grayson got things started for the Falcons on a chilly day that featured wind gusting to nearly 20 mph. In No. 1 singles, Grayson used her big forehand to defeat Chang, 8-0, in about 45 minutes, followed closely by an 8-0 win by Yan over St. John's sophomore Amber Brown in the No. 2 singles match.
The Falcons' confidence continued to build with singles victories from senior Tessa Batz, who beat St. John's senior Amelia Mitchell, 8-2, at No. 3, and from freshman Melissa Yan (Melinda's sister), an 8-3 winner over St. John's junior Sophie Valdez at No. 4.
"From the beginning, we knew there was a chance we were going to win," Grayson said. "Going in, there was definitely confidence in the fact that not only do we want to win, but we knew we were going to."
Paul VI junior Adri Cristofari defeated St. John's freshman Zoe Walker, 9-7, at No. 5, and St. John's senior Grace Segreti scored an 8-6 win over O'Connell freshman Elena Turner at No. 6 to round out singles play.
Shortly after Grayson and Melinda Yan's clinching victory, Batz and Melissa Yan teamed to beat St. John's Mitchell and Valdez, 8-3, and the Falcons ran onto the court to celebrate defending their WCAC title and going undefeated in conference play for the second straight year.
To wrap up the tournament, Turner and senior Sarah Tran of O'Connell held off St. John's Segreti and Walker, 9-8 (7-3), in No. 3 doubles.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the names of the winners in No. 3 doubles.