Western Albemarle girls tennis was expecting an all-out battle Tuesday in the Class 3 state semifinals against Abingdon. A year ago, the Warriors had edged the Falcons in the state quarterfinals, winning in doubles to secure a spot in the state final four.
The Warriors didn’t have to sweat it out this year.
Western punched its ticket for the state semifinals with a 5-0 sweep of the Falcons and they’ll face James Monroe in the state final at 9 a.m. in Salem Saturday. Western is thrilled to be back in the final after falling short a year ago in the state semis.
“I’ve actually been thinking about it since last year,” said Western’s Corinne Jennings. “It’s definitely the moment I’ve been waiting for and all of us have been working for.”
Western rolled to the win with Winslow setting the tone with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 2 while Sarah Randolph Warren won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 and Jenny Little rolled 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6 singles. Sarah Inman and No. 3 Stephanie Hass then stepped up to close it out with Hass winning 7-5, 6-1 while Inman won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles.
“I was super nervous but as soon as I got on there, I’m like I know I can do that,” said Western’s Austin Winslow. “After the first set I was like okay, I’m going to be fine.”
A year after falling in the state semifinals in a marathon heartbreaker, Western was back in the mix for a state title Saturday led by a solid group of players who’ve been here before.
“This is the time of year where it’s really their time and you rely on the leaders within the team,” said coach Ellen Markowitz. “We have really strong leaders and they’ve stepped up on and off the court.”
Oddly enough, the matchup that didn’t end up finishing Tuesday may end up being the most critical to Western’s busy week. In addition to playing for the team title, Western’s No. 1 Jennings will play for the singles title and the doubles title with Winslow. While Winslow cruised at No. 2, Abingdon’s Anna Campbell pushed Jennings and won the first set 6-1 only to see Jennings battle back and when the second set 7-6 (7-5) on a tiebreaker. While the match was suspended after Western clinched, Jennings felt like it gave her a needed jolt as she moves into a busy week down in Salem.
“I haven’t had such a competitive match all year and I think it’s what I really need for states,” Jennings said. “It’s going to be hard so it was nice to have that practice.”
Seeing her doubles partner battle back was inspiring for Winslow too.
“It was so nice to see that because I know she needs that confidence,” Winslow said. “All of our matches up there are going to be good so we need to play some good players right now to be ready for that.”
Jennings and Winslow will compete Friday in the state doubles championships and Jennings will get started Friday in the singles tournament. The Warriors will play for the team title Saturday at 10 a.m. against James Monroe in the state title match.
Western Albemarle 5, Abingdon 0
- Corinne Jennings (WA) vs. Anna Campbell 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) DNF
- Austin Winslow (WA) def. Annie Miller 6-0, 6-0
- Stephanie Hass (WA) def. Carly Hargroves 7-5, 6-1
- Sarah Inman (WA) def. Lauren Goodman 6-1, 6-3
- Sarah Randolph Warren (WA) def. Elizabeth McLaughlin 6-1, 6-1
- Jenny Little (WA) def. Bridget Lord 6-2, 6-3