Elizabeth Seton senior Kim Strickland has dominated Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tennis since her arrival three years ago, and after yesterday's 10-1 victory over Laurie Bowie of Holy Cross in the league's No. 1 singles tournament semifinals, she is one match from an unblemished high school career.
Strickland will face O'Connell sophomore Felicia Pricenor, a 10-8 winner over Good Counsel's Michelle Canaria in the other semifinal, today at 11 a.m. at Bluemont Park in Arlington.
Strickland had no problem with Bowie, hitting 11 winners, four service winners and an ace in the 35-minute match. Strickland lost just 11 points, including two double faults.
"I stayed with my game plan to go for all my shots and hit winners," said Strickland, who is 45-0 at Seton. As a freshman, Strickland attended Capital Christian Academy, which has no tennis team.
Pricenor, who is 16-1 this season, had a more difficult time. She trailed, 5-7, before taking five of the final six games. "I wasn't in the right mind-set," Pricenor said. "I didn't get a chance to warm up, so I was still a little cold in the beginning."
Pricenor is Strickland's heir apparent in the WCAC. In her two years of high school tennis, she has lost just four matches--all to Strickland.
"I have to get over the mental aspect of beating her," Pricenor said. "I've been playing her in Mid-Atlantic tennis tournaments since the 12-and-unders and have never beaten her."
Walter Johnson junior Diana Pulupa hit 19 winners to get by Whitman junior Courtney Klein, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the semifinals of the Montgomery County No. 1 singles tournament. Pulupa, the No. 1 seed, struggled early but ran off nine straight games to win the second set and go ahead 4-0 in the third.
"In the first set [Klein] was playing really well, and my shots weren't going in," said Pulupa, who is 15-0. Pulupa has lost just two sets this season, both to Klein, who was unseeded.
Pulupa will face Magruder sophomore Ronnie Brown in the finals, today at 3 p.m. at Northwest High in Germantown. Brown defeated Richard Montgomery senior Danielle Piacente, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
"I focused on getting the ball in, one at a time," said Brown, who is 13-1 and has lost only to Pulupa this season.
If Sidwell Friends (13-0, 6-0 Independent School League AA) is to win its third straight ISL AA tournament, it will do so without senior Katy Milkman, who is out with a sprained ankle. Milkman, the Quakers' number one player, played just three matches this season because of college visits, illnesses and injuries.
Sidwell, which holds the area's longest current winning streak at 69 matches, won its sixth straight ISL AA regular season title this season, despite having its full lineup together for only one match.