They called it "intense," twin sisters overcoming a mountain of a challenge together.
When Sadie and Savannah Pfau defeated Duncan's No. 1 duo in three sets for the Class 5A doubles regional championship last week, it cemented what the Tigers already had a strong sense of.
They can play with anyone.
"It raises our confidence a lot," Sadie Pfau said. "It's the power behind everything we do, that we know we can do it ... that we know we can win."
Ardmore will look to erase an 18-year team state championship drought today and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center. The Tigers send five seniors to the net, arguably their best chance at a state title since their last in 1995.
The Pfaus sisters, who signed with Southwestern College (Kan.), enter as one of the favorites in No. 1 doubles, as do Maddy Seals and Katie Pinson in No. 2 doubles and Alex Morales at No. 1 singles.
"We've worked a lot as a team, and not just individually, to make it on the podium," Seals said. "We've been out here for hours and hours and hours.
"This is the strongest we've ever been."
Last season, Ardmore went home fifth as a team, with Savannah Pfau leading the way with a fourth-place finish in No. 2 doubles.
Morales (fifth in No. 1 singles in 2012), Seals and Sadie Pfau (sixth in No. 1 doubles) and Pinson (eighth in No. 2 doubles) all return from that team, albeit in different positions.
Those changes have benefited Ardmore for the better, highlighted by the Pfau sisters' rise up the doubles ladder.
Pinson said that after a year in different roles, the lineup changes this season have made for great chemistry.
"I really enjoy my partner," Pinson said of the switches. "She picks up for my weaknesses and I pick up for hers."
The Tigers expect opposition from teams such as Cascia Hall, Heritage Hall, Bixby and Duncan. Heritage Hall is the defending 5A champion.
At the least, the Tigers are guaranteed at least one state championship: Ardmore was awarded the 5A academic state championship earlier this week. The six girls — the senior trio and junior Destany Martin — had the best cumulative grade point average (3.99) among regional teams in their classification.
"I think this team is focused, they're prepared, and I think they have the ability to make something happen at state," Ardmore coach Becky Dickinson said. "We've had individuals in the past that have won state championships, we've had all-staters, but this team is strong.
"(Class) 5A is tough. They know it. But they know anything can happen."
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD