It was steamy inside the Boar’s Head indoor courts Saturday. Oppressively steamy.
Despite those less-than-ideal conditions for Western Albemarle girls tennis, through five hours of match play, Corinne Jennings kept battling and that made all the difference for the Warriors in a 5-2 win over Abingdon in the VHSL Class 3 state quarterfinals.
“We put in a lot of work this season but I just kept thinking, for the whole team, just push through, keep going, every single point counts,” Jennings said.
First, Jennings survived a 7-6 (4), 6-4 singles bout, then turned around and helped the Warriors close the door on Abingdon with a 6-4, 6-4 win in doubles alongside Hannah Kearns. The win vaults the Warriors into the state final four where they’ll host Cave Spring on Tuesday afternoon.
Jennings and Kearns only became doubles partners fairly recently after the Warriors decided to shake up the doubles lineup. The move has paid significant dividends as Jennings and Kearns have melded nicely, winning the Class 3, Region C doubles title.
“We just communicate and work together — we don’t get mad at each other which I think is one big thing,” Jennings said.
While Kearns and Jennings closed the door on Abingdon, Western got perhaps its biggest lift from Sarah Inman gutting out her singles win.
“I told my coach before the match that every single switchover I wanted her to come over because if I was down I’d really want the guidance,” Inman said.
The hands on approach worked early, with Inman winning the first set 7-6 (7-2) before falling in the second set 6-4. That’s when she started to get really locked in, but relaxed enough to get the job done.
“I kind of had a moment of realization that this is it, that I really needed to win,” Inman said. “I just got really calm and decided everything will be okay.”
That played out on the court, with Inman snagging a 6-3 win to gain the critical point. Along with Jennings, Jenny Little who won 6-1, 6-1 and Lilly Moore also holding on a three-set match 6-5, 5-7, 6-3, Western held a 4-2 lead after singles. Jennings and Kearns managed to close out Anna Campbell and Annie Miller from Abingdon just seconds after the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles squads stepped on the court to warm up.
Western advances to the state semifinals where they’ll host Cave Spring Tuesday.
“The past two years we haven’t even made it to the state tournament so this is a really big deal for us,” Inman said. “We just keep feeding off each other’s energy. Knowing that the prize is there, that it’s in our sight has been great.”
Western 5, Abingdon 2
Class 3 State Quarterfinals
- Anna Campbell (AHS) def. Hannah Kearns 6-3, 6-3
- Corinne Jennings (WAHS) def. Maggie Miller 7-6 (4), 6-4
- Annie Miller (AHS) def. Anna O’Shea 6-4, 6-4
- Lilly Moore (WAHS) def. Carly Hargrove 6-5, 5-7, 6-3
- Sarah Inman (WAHS) def. Lauren Goodman 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-3
- Jenny Little (WAHS) def Laken Waugh 6-1, 6-1
- Keans/Jennings (WAHS) def. Campbell/Miller 6-4, 6-4