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Daily Press all-stars: Girls tennis
DAILY PRESS ALL-STARS: Girls tennis
Player of the year
Tori Ford, junior, Lafayette
Lafayette junior Tori Ford found a way to peak at the right time. After a regular-season loss to Bruton's Emily Demeo and a Bay Rivers District tournament final defeat to Tabb's Alex Jenssen, Ford began to click. She won a 6-4, 7-5 rematch against Jenssen for the Region I championship, cruised through a state Group AA semifinal and won the championship by defeating East Carolina University-bound Kristin Gordon of Handley 6-1, 6-4.
Ford's game is entertaining, featuring power, quickness and variety. But, as Lafayette coach Pat Thompson will tell you, she needed to make a breakthrough by keeping her composure and her concentration through arduous matches. Starting with the victory over Jenssen, she did -- and that made her the Rams' first girls tennis state champion in any category.
Thompson said she expects Ford's game to rise even more since she has boosted her mental game. Ford is a longtime Mid-Atlantic Section tournament player, and she put that experience to good use in making Lafayette the team that ended Jamestown's nine-year BRD winning streak. She paced the Rams to first place in the Bay Rivers regular season and second place in the Region I tournament.
OTHERS ON SINGLES FIRST TEAM
MELISSA DISKIN, Warwick, senior: The only blemish on her season was a first-round Eastern Region loss to Hickory's Gabrielle Krupp in a third-set tiebreaker. She breezed to her second consecutive Peninsula District tournament championship. She wants to be an environmental engineer and is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she will play on the tennis team.
SUZANNE EDWARDS, Hampton Roads Academy, senior: She propelled HRA to a 15-0 season and its first state girls tennis championship. The tennis/soccer player overcame chronic knee problems to start for the Navigators for all or part of six years.
ALEX JENSSEN, Tabb, freshman: After an Air Force-related family move from the West, she was a postseason revelation in tennis after playing varsity volleyball and JV basketball. She played a strong No. 3 for the Bay Rivers District runners-up. She also led Tabb to an unexpected Region I team championship.
CLARE SPOONER, Walsingham Academy, sophomore: She was second-team all-TCIS honors and placed third in the conference tournament's No. 2 bracket. Her play enabled Walsingham to gain sixth place in probably the area's best prep girls tennis league.
ALISON WINGO, Hampton Roads Academy, sophomore: She competed well at the No. 2 spot during HRA's run to the TCIS crown, state Division II championship and 15-0 campaign last fall before moving to Florida -- at least temporarily -- with her younger sister. She also was on a state championship team in the spring in Florida.
DOUBLES FIRST TEAM
SUZANNE EDWARDS and ALISON WINGO, Hampton Roads Academy, senior and sophomore: They were first-team all-TCIS picks in doubles and were the anchors for the state Division II champion team. Edwards' touch and Wingo's power was an excellent combination for Ray Smith's squad.
TORI FORD and ANNIE GOODE, Lafayette: junior and junior: They were the Bay Rivers District's best team in the regular season and tournament, helping to win the BRD team crown. They were semifinalists in the Region I tournament.
MELISSA DiSKIN and MARIA CHEVTSOVA, Warwick, senior and senior: The Peninsula District's best team in the regular season and tournament, and they're probably among the nation's best academic tennis tandems. Diskin was a co-salutatorian of the Raiders' class of 2007 and a Hampton Roads Science Fair winner. Chevtsova, the class valedictorian, achieved a perfect 2400 SAT score . They were Eastern Region quarterfinalists for the Raiders, who are coached by Diskin's mother, Alison Slattery.
SINGLES SECOND TEAM
Emily Demeo, Bruton, sophomore.
Sarah Haase, Tabb, Junior.
Shelby Hernandez, Denbigh, junior.
Carmen Lucas, Hampton Roads Academy, freshman.
Elena Marsteller, Hampton Roads Academy, senior.
Katharine Napora, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. Senior.
DOUBLES SECOND TEAM
Elena Marsteller (senior) and Carmen Lucas (freshman), Hampton Roads Academy.
Laura Curtis (senior) and Kelly Little (sophomore), Jamestown.
Olivia Twiddy (junior) and Clare Spooner (sophomore), Walsingham Academy.
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