A day after Julia Facchina and the rest of the Glenelg orchestra received a standing ovation for their renditions of music from "Pirates of the Caribbean," the senior violinist captivated an audience on her own with her tennis racket.
Facchina performed as a soloist on the court Saturday at Wilde Lake Tennis Center, wining the girls' singles title at the Howard County tennis championships.
Facchina's 6-0, 6-1 victory over Reservoir's Alley Spector ended four years of postseason disappointment. Before this spring, Facchina had gone undefeated in three regular seasons but lost to her teammate and friend, two-time All-Met Marianne Baker, in the county and Region III final, as well as twice in the state tournament.
"You should have seen the performance Julia and the orchestra gave. It was so amazing, and then for her to come out here in the finals, it's just so special," Glenelg Coach Mary Ellen Doyle said. "We were all pulling for her, cheering for her because she has waited so long for this. She could have played doubles [at the county championships] when Marianne was here so she wouldn't have to play her, but every year she always wanted to push herself and play singles and try to beat Marianne. And she never complained, never tried to get any recognition, and now she deserves everything."
So when Facchina (21-0) got her hands on the big trophy after extending her winning streak to 22 matches, coaches and teammates wanted to have their picture taken with one of the school's best violinists.
"Orchestra and tennis are both about finding rhythm and keeping it," Facchina said. "Once you lose your rhythm, even for a second, it's hard to get back."
Facchina is one of 24 Howard County players who qualified for the Region III tournament tomorrow and Saturday at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club. The top two finishers in five events -- boys' and girls singles', boys' and girls' doubles and mixed doubles -- advance to the state tournament at the University of Maryland on May 28 and 29.
Centennial freshman Ryan Lissner also completed the season undefeated, winning the final without serving a single ball. His opponent, Long Reach junior Michael Duong, was disqualified for walking off the court in protest because he felt other teams had rearranged their lineups during the season to give them an advantage.
The Long Reach boys' and girls' tennis team submitted a letter to Don Disney, county coordinator of athletics, on May 3 stating in part that "players are all aware of this phenomenon, and laugh about coaches who 'stack' [their lineups]."
"What happened at the tournament was totally unacceptable and will be taken very, very seriously," Disney said. "If Long Reach has some concerns, we'll address them, but that was not the time to do something like that and take the attention away from the rest of the players in the tournament."
River Hill, led by boys' doubles champions Scott Burtzlaff and Trevor Anderson and mixed doubles champions Katie Sheliga and Kevin Huber, won the team title for the second consecutive season and for the third time in four years with 36.5 points. Glenelg finished second with 31 points, and Mount Hebron and Centennial tied for third with 25.
But no champion was as dominant this year as Facchina, who lost just four games during the season.
"I've been to regionals and to states before, so I know what to expect, and hopefully I can do better than coming in third like I did last year," said Facchina, who will attend Virginia Tech this fall but does not expect to try out for the Hokies' tennis team. "But even when the season's over, I'm still going to miss this because it's been such a big part of my life, and now it's almost over."