Madison High may have one of the area's best singles players--junior Katie Ruckert--but Centreville is still the team to beat.
Ruckert, last season's All-Met Player of the Year, dominated fellow All-Met Laura James of Centreville yesterday, 6-1, 6-0, in 41 minutes in No. 1 singles. But James then teamed with her sister, Kristen, to win the doubles and clinch a 6-3 victory in the AAA Northern Region semifinals.
The victory puts Centreville (14-0), the defending Virginia AAA state champion, in today's Northern Region final at West Potomac (1 p.m.) against Langley, a 5-1 semifinal winner yesterday over previously unbeaten Yorktown. It also gives the Wildcats a berth in this year's state quarterfinals on Oct. 26 in Richmond.
Centreville led 4-2 after singles, which meant Madison (13-1) needed to win its three doubles matches to advance. The James sisters, last year's Virginia AAA doubles champions, ended that possibility with a quick 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ruckert and Jeanette Morazzani in No. 1 doubles.
"I'm fired up for the whole team," Laura James said. "It wasn't payback. I didn't expect to win in singles. I expected to win the doubles."
Ruckert, 17-0 in singles this season and ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic region in both the 16- and 18-and-under age group, hit 11 winners to give Madison a 1-0 lead. Ruckert lost just two points in the second set.
"I'm trying to be more aggressive and come to net," Ruckert said. "I want to be intense in every match."
Centreville sophomore Jessica Vanderdys, who has never lost a high school singles match, tied the match 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Anna-Maria Chmiel in 53 minutes in No. 3 singles. Kristen James followed with a pivotal 6-3, 6-4 win in No. 2 singles over Liberty District singles runner-up Mary Kovarik.
In the AAA Northwestern Region semifinals, Woodbridge defeated Stafford, 6-3, to earn a berth in the AAA state quarterfinals. The Vikings improved to 16-0. Stafford ended its season with a 15-1 record.