By David Wagner
The Western Albemarle girls tennis team brought home their first ever State Championship on June 14, defeating York High School. It was a huge win for the program, as they had flirted with winning the title in recent years. It was almost a natural progression as the Warriors made it to the Region finals in 2012, the State semi-finals in 2013 and “finally climbed the mountain,” as Head Coach Ellen Markowitz stated. Markowitz also said, “for our seniors it’s a dream way to end their careers, and they have been the best leaders and captains any coach could want for their program.”
The Lady Warriors have compiled an amazing 81-5 record over the last four years, including the state runner-up in 2013 and this year’s State Championship.
On June 10, the Warriors hosted the state semi-finals and dispatched Williamsburg’s Lafayette High School from the tournament with a 5-1 victory. Emily Kochard defeated Libby Bland (6-0, 6-1), Maddy Ix beat Hannah Trueblood (6-3,6-0), Lauren Kearns got the win over Maia Rosewelsh (6-3, 6-1), Stephanie Barton outlasted Tawni Hatcher (7-5, 6-3) and Savannah Diamond defeated Robin Rosewelsh (6-0, 6-0) in straight sets.
In the state finals match the Warriors would find the competition to be as tough as it had been all year long. Even though they won the match in singles play 5-1 (they didn’t have to play the double’s matches), York gave them a fight to the finish. Emily Kochard won in straight sets again but not before York’s Teresa Alvarez rallied in the second set for a 6-2, 6-4 score. Maddy Ix finished strong after a competitive first set to win 6-3, 6-1. Stephanie Barton had to work hard to nab a 7-6(4), 7-5 win that was tooth and nail to the finish. Savannah Diamond cruised in her second set to win 6-3, 6-0 and Maggie Roesch played the match of the day for the Warriors. After losing the first set 2-6 Roesch came back strong to win the second set 7-6(0) over Courtney Jenkins. Jenkins apparently used everything she had in the second set and Roesch turned up the pressure in the third and final set to break Jenkins, winning it 6-0 and taking the match, which was the title clinching win for the Warriors, earning them their first ever state championship.
It was truly a remarkable season and four-year stretch for the program, as they went a little deeper in the playoffs each year over that span and finally went all the way. Congratulations Warriors and good luck in 2015!