This probably was not what Jared Anderson and Hunter Davis wanted to hear early Friday morning, as they left their hotel room before their Group AA team tennis semifinal against Jamestown High School.
The two Loudoun County High School senior tennis players bumped into a tennis player from York High School, who also was competing in the Group AA tournament at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
"The York player told us a little about each Jamestown player, because they're [Jamestown's] big rival," Davis said. "He really built them up. He acted like they were God or something."
But Davis and the Raiders weren't intimidated -- they beat the Eagles, 7-2, and played for their first state championship yesterday against Heritage, 9-0 winners over Fieldsdale-Collinsville in the other semifinal.
Loudoun County (17-1) got off to a slow start in the singles matches; four of the six Raiders lost the first set, but two of them (Anderson and Davis) rebounded to win their matches.
"I didn't feel so good" about the way the morning started, Loudoun County Coach Jim Noland said. "When you don't know anything about your opponent, you can be a little unsure at the start. Your first thought is sometimes, `Do we belong here?' "
No. 4 Matt Brandon and No. 5 Chris Downs won in straight sets for Loudoun County. No. 2 Anderson, who admits to being something of a slow starter, rallied to defeat J.T. Murphy, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Davis's win at No. 3 was the pivotal match -- he lost the first set, 6-4, and had to break Tony Esposito's serve to force a tiebreaker in the second set. Davis won the tiebreaker, 7-2, and rolled in the third set, 6-3. Davis's victory gave the Raiders a 4-2 advantage heading into the doubles.
"Mentally, [Davis's win] was critical, even though we ended up winning all three doubles," Noland said. "Hunter has a lot of moxie about him, and that was the key."
The Raiders clinched the team victory with Davis and Anderson's 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles. Davis and Anderson have been doubles partners for four years, yet they hadn't won a doubles match in almost a month.
In the district championship against Handley, Downs and Chris Davis sealed the win with their doubles victory, and in the regional championship against the Judges, it was Brandon and Phil Griffith who provided the winning margin.
"We wanted to make it depend on us," Davis said. "It never happened until today."
No. 1: Ryan James (J) def. Phil Griffith, 7-5, 6-3; No. 2: Jared Anderson (LC) def. J.T. Murphy, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; No. 3: Hunter Davis (LC) def. Tony Esposito, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3; No. 4: Matt Brandon (LC) def. Todd Milligan, 6-4, 6-0; No. 5: Chris Downs (LC) def. James Hull, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2; No. 6: Preston Long (J) def. Craig Schulz, 6-0, 6-3.
No. 1: Anderson/Davis (LC) def. James/Murphy, 6-2, 6-1; No. 2: Brandon/Griffith (LC) def. Esposito/Hull, 7-5, 6-3; No. 3: Davis/Schulz (LC) def. Milligan/Long, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.