Cumberland Regional freshman Megan Maloney cruised to the Tri-County Conference individual tournament singles final over the weekend at Williamstown High School.
On Sunday, she finally hit a road block in Williamstown senior and defending champion Brittany Reedman. Maloney, who received a first-round bye, completed three matches in straight sets to reach the final, where she fell 6-0 6-0 to Reedman.
"It was a good experience," the 14-year-old Fairton resident said in an interview Tuesday. "I was really honored that I could get so far. I lost in the finals, but it was a good match that I can build off of."
The final score wasn't as one-sided as it may seem.
"(Going into it) I was told that she was a good player," Maloney added. "We had a lot of good games. She was really well-rounded and skilled. I was just happy that I could hang in there. A few of our games went to deuce and some of them were really close."
The tournament wasn't held last season. Reedman last won the tournament as a sophomore. Formerly, the conference would just crown individual division-title winners. This year, the tournament brought all three divisions together for one singles and doubles winner.
Cumberland's third-singles player, Zoe Taylor, reached the second round and Wildwood's Samantha Rogers lost in the first round. For doubles, Cumberland's first-doubles duo, Karen Johnson and Melanie Mayhew, reached the semifinals before falling to Clearview's No. 2 team 6-3, 6-3.
Maloney also showed some sisterly love by beating Clearview Regional's Shannon Burke in the semifinals. Burke had knocked out older sister and senior Shannon Maloney in the quarterfinals.
Megan and Shannon play first and second singles for the Colts, respectively. The younger sister earned the top spot through challenge matches. The two led Cumberland to an undefeated division record and the Diamond title. It was Cumberland's first Diamond title. Up until this season, the Colts were in the Royal division, which they last won in 2009.
Individually, Megan Maloney went 19-7 overall this season with 14 straight set victories.
"I'm really happy with how she did, especially being a freshman, that's really exciting," Shannon Maloney said. "I'm proud of her. It was a lot of pressure and I think she handled that well. She had a really good season this year so I think that she'll be even stronger next year with experience. I think that playing tough competition (right away), that she's really gained a lot from that."
Contact Kelly Ashe:
Singles-Anna Prestera d. Grosso 6-0, 6-0; Colleen Anderson d. Saccas 6-1, 6-0; Marlena Brazill d. Kenny 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles-Erin Law-Melody Samuels d. Pramolla-Costaneino 6-1, 6-3; Jenn Rochette-Maddie Jackstadt d. Smith-G'elia 6-4, 6-3.
Records-Barnegat 24-4, Matawan 2-14.
Note: First names for Matawan were not available.
Holy Spirit 5,
Singles-Madison Gallagher d. Denise Juarez 6-0, 6-0; Emery Gewirtz d. Shakia Singleton 6-1, 6-4; Valerie Garofalo d. Maria Cruz 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles-Kelly Gross-Jessica Shaffer d. Tanija Johnson-Andrea Mendez 1-6, 6-4, 6-1; Melissa Garzon-Allie Hewitt d. Tyrusha Wallop-Ana Perez 6-4, 6-2.
Records-Spirit 15-2, Bridgeton 3-16.