Pam Niditch, just like at the end of every match she played this year, saw the match-winning point land and made her way to the net to greet her opponent. This time, however, she was met with a loving embrace, not a handshake.
This time was different, as the congratulatory moment was shared with her older sister Emily Niditch, just seconds after she captured the District 4 Class AA singles championship, 6-1, 6-1, at the West Branch Tennis Club on Monday afternoon.
"I'm really excited," Pam Niditch said of her title. "It was a lot of fun playing my sister in the finals."
Pam Niditch of Loyalsock returns a shot to her sister, Emily Niditch, during Monday’s District 4 Class AA girls singles final at the West Branch Tennis Club.
The win for Pam Niditch -which kept the district title not only in Loyalsock, but also in the family - came in dominating fashion, as the freshman capped off an undefeated season in which she failed to drop a single set, with a victory over not only her sister, but the defending District 4 Class AA singles champion.
Emily Niditch won last year's title when she defeated Lewisburg's Eleanor Gerhard, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, at Bloomsburg University.
"If I had to lose to anyone then I'm glad it's my sister," Emily Niditch said after the loss. "She works really hard and I knew going in that she was going to be my toughest competitor and I just look forward to what she is going to do in the next three years."
Both wins for Pam Niditch on Monday did nothing but hammer home why she played the No. 1 singles on the same team as the district's reigning singles champion while also being the No. 1 seed in the draw.
And just like all season, the district title was won with a powerful serve paired with a strong ground game that featured big forehands and well-placed drop shots and lobs.
"As a freshman I just went into it wanting to try my best," Pam Niditch said. "And not dropping a set made it a wonderful season for me in my freshman year."
Not everything looked promising for the Niditch sisters on Monday as both dropped the first game of their semifinal matches. Pam Niditch quickly recovered, though, winning the next 12 games as she dispatched Hughesville's Kaylora Thompson in straight sets.
Emily Niditch, however, was forced into three sets, including a second-set tiebreak, against Hughesville's Kelsey McCabe before advancing to the finals.
Although not as easy as they would have liked, both sisters advanced past the pressure situations into what would be an easy-going, fun game against a familiar opponent.
"We just went into it saying we wanted to have fun," Pam Niditch said. "We went into it saying it doesn't matter who wins, we are just going to have fun and that's how it was."
And by fun, Pam and Emily Niditch meant taking out all the stops and going for the winners rather than waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. The final, although a low-pressure situation, was filled with powerful serves and forehands that ended with a loving embrace between siblings.
"The nice thing about playing my sister was that there absolutely were no nerves," Emily Niditch said. "We just went for shots and did the best we could to out-rally each other and win the point."
And even with the loss, the season isn't over for Emily Niditch, whom with the second-place finish will join Pam Niditch in the PIAA tournament as the two representatives from District 4.
"It's kind of a goal from when the year started and we knew this was a possibility," said Loyalsock head coach Rick Zimmerman. "And it's nice that the top two go to states so they get to go to states together."
Pam Niditch, L, def. Kaylora Thompson, H, 6-1, 6-0
Emily Niditch, L, def. Kelsey McCabe, H, 7-5, 6-7 (7-2), 6-0
Pam Niditch, L, def. Emily Niditch, L, 6-1, 6-1