Lizzie Stewart of Oakton comes up big at Virginia AAA tennis championships


Oakton All-Met Player of the Year Lizzie Stewart shows off the VHSL AAA girls' tennis bracket after she captured the singles' title Saturday at Jefferson District Park. (Photo courtesy Karl Kerns)
June 8, 2013

In the lobby of the Burke Racquet & Swim Club, after the match and the medals and the pictures and the hugs, Oakton’s girls’ doubles team of Lizzie Stewart and Katie Clark looked at one another and put their hands on their heads in disbelief.

Roughly 30 minutes after beating Langley’s Sydney Goodson and Melissa Parks, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, to capture the Virginia AAA girls’ doubles state title Saturday afternoon, the reality of the situation hit them.

They shared another hug.

“We just complement each other so well,” said Clark, a senior. “In doubles, you can have the skills but if you don’t have the relationship with the person, that chemistry, nothing can really happen.”

In fact, Stewart and Clark were so in-tune they sported matching ankle tape, albeit on opposite legs, after both were injured in different matches earlier this postseason.

“We just wanted to look so similar,” Clark said with a laugh, “but it was really a weird coincidence that we both got hurt.”

After dropping a set for the first time this season, Stewart and Clark withstood Goodson’s remarkable poaching ability and won the next two.

Stewart, a junior who transferred from St. Stephens/St. Agnes, had a far easier time winning a singles championship at Jefferson District Park, 6-1, 6-1, against Cosby’s Lauren Denvel. After Stewart finished her match, steady rain moved the doubles events indoors.

“Winning singles and doubles, that was pretty cool,” said Stewart, the All-Met Player of the Year. “I don’t know if I was expecting that.”

In the boys’ doubles final at Burke, Jefferson’s team of senior Chris Vrabel and sophomore Kevin Wan capped arguably the best season in school history with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win against Cosby’s Brett Morehead and Dylan Sykes.

“It really means a lot to win for Chris in his last match and to send him off as a champion,” Wan said.

Colonials Coach John Myers credited Vrabel, who plans to play for Cornell University next season, for much of his 20-0 team’s success this season.

“A lot of the college coaches that recruited him didn’t want him to play high school tennis,” Myers said. “But there’s a lot to be said for the camaraderie of playing with your buddies. I think I’ve seen him laugh more here than he does with anyone else.”

In the A boys’ team championship at the Dedmon Center at Radford University, George Mason beat Glenvar, 5-0, to capture its fourth consecutive title and finish the year 17-1.

“The expectation with our players every year is to get to the state tournament,” said Mustangs Coach Matt Sowers. “Once we got to regionals, I explained to them that we were 55-0 in our last seven matches. That gave them a lot of confidence.”

Meanwhile, the George Mason girls’ team won its first team title since 1988 by beating Radford, 5-3.

“It’s awesome. That’s the only thing I can say,” said Coach Chrisline Baldo. “I’m so happy for these girls.”

Peggy Brozi and Mariam Salakaia sealed the result with a three-set victory at No. 2 doubles, while sisters Carrinton and Kynadi Mauney defeated Gate City’s Rosa Smith and Emily Smith, 6-2, 6-2, to win the A girls’ doubles state title.

In the AA boys’ team championship, Briar Woods lost to E.C. Glass, 5-2, at the Virginia Tech Tennis Center in Blacksburg, and finished the season 20-2.

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