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STORY: Lafayette, Tabb endure for Region I semifinal triumphs
Lafayette and Tabb endure long matches to reach the Region I girls tennis final. Jamestown and Courtland advance to a much-awaited boys showdown.
BY SONNY DEARTH
email@example.com | 247-4640
JAMES CITY — The boys deferred their drama until "High Noon" Saturday at the Region I tennis tournament. But the girls provided plenty of theatrics — and guts — at two sites in Friday’s semifinals.
The Lafayette girls won 5-2 over upset-minded Jamestown in 4½ hours on the Eagles’ courts. And Tabb prevailed in a match that went even longer, beating Courtland 5-4 in more than five hours at Kiwanis Park.
Those teams will play at 9 a.m. Saturday at Jamestown. The boys final, matching Courtland against Jamestown, will follow at 12 o’clock.
Since a loss in 1998, the Eagles’ first girls tennis team, Jamestown had won this tournament every year. Friday, coming off a 6-3 regular-season loss to Lafayette and lacking the Mid-Atlantic Section standouts of past seasons, the Eagles put quite a scare into the Bay Rivers District champion Rams.
The players know each other well in the neighborhood rivalry, and virtually all of them seemed nervous in singles. Jamestown led 2-1 on victories by Whitney Simerlein at No. 6 and Laura Curtis at No. 2, and No. 1 player Kelly Little and No. 5 Natalie Donvito were ahead. But Tori Ford came back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set to overcome Little 6-1, 0-6, 6-4, Lafayette’s Madeline Jones pulled out a 7-5, 6-4 victory at 4 and, well after all the other singles were finished, Lizzie Mitchell beat Donvito 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-2.
"We had a lot of emotions and a lot of ups and downs, but we just kept fighting," Rams coach Pat Thompson said. "Lizzie is one determined kid."
Jamestown coach Peter Schweitzer and most of his players seemed upbeat afterward. "That was fun, very fun," he said. "Lafayette was the favorite, and we were hoping to make some matches close, and I think we did that. I think both teams showed their fight."
Even in doubles, the issue was far from settled. Jones’ partner at No. 2, Ali Wheeler, ended the marathon with a back-to-back overhead winner and backhand volley winner for a 7-5, 6-4 win over Sarah Shriver and Winston Fleishman.
"It’s my senior year and I love to see things happen," Wheeler said.
So do Tabb’s Tigers, who relied on long three-set victories by No. 1 Sarah Haase and No. 2 Sarah Rowe to gain a 4-2 lead headed into doubles. The Fredericksburg-area Cougars replied by pulling even at 4, but Haase and Rowe won 6-1, 6-2 at the top spot for the clincher.
"Their matches lasted three hours, and they played very well," Tigers coach Gary Williams said.
Last edited by Sonny Dearth : 05-26-2007 at 12:27 AM.
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