Saturday's Virginia AAA girls tennis final will have a familiar look. Defending champion Centreville (17-0) will meet last season's runner-up, Douglas Freeman (15-2), at 11 a.m. at the Raintree Swim and Racquet Club in Richmond.
Today, Centreville ousted Central Region champion Mills Godwin, 6-3, and Freeman defeated Northern Region runner-up Langley, 6-3, in the semifinals.
"[Freeman] lost their number one player, so I'm pretty confident we can win," Centreville Coach Ellen Parker said. "After [the semifinal victory], we'll be pumped."
Centreville edged Freeman, 5-4, in last season's final, when Jessica Vanderdys and Jenny Nolen won at No. 2 doubles in the decisive final match. An indication of Centreville's strength is that Vanderdys and Nolen, both sophomores, still play No. 2 doubles. They have not lost yet, including a 6-0, 6-2 victory today over Elizabeth Kristofak and Katie Gaskins.
Freeman, a perennial tennis powerhouse, will make its fourth consecutive trip to the state AAA finals. However, the Rebels have not won since 1983, when they defeated West Springfield, 5-4. In 1996 and 1997 Freeman fell to Clover Hill, 7-2, and, 5-4, respectively.
"There's a reason why Freeman is always in the finals," said Kristen James, Centreville's No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles player. "They're a good team with good depth, and we'll need to play really well to beat them."
"Hopefully, it'll be another great match," Freeman Coach Larry Parpart said. "There's no doubt about it -- they're strong. But we're playing well. We played well Tuesday, and we played well today. Hopefully, we can be on the top end this year."
Jefferson All-Met junior Kelley Otstott has decided not to compete for the rest of the cross-country season.
Otstott learned she had mononucleosis on Oct. 15, but she said had been running with the illness throughout the season. She won the Concorde District girls individual title last Wednesday in 18 minutes 4 seconds. The Journal newspapers first reported the story today.
"I have had symptoms all year, and we thought it was a sinus infection, but it turned out to be mono," said Otstott, who placed second in the AAA Northern Region and AAA cross-country championships last fall. "I wanted to race at districts because our team had a chance to do well. I wanted to see if I would be better . . . I was having a real hard time even standing up afterwards."
After consulting with her coach, Matt Ryan, and her family Wednesday and Thursday, they concluded it would be in Otstott's best interest not to run the rest of the fall. She will miss the Northern regionals Thursday at Burke Lake Park and state meet Nov. 13 at Great Meadow in The Plains.
"I want to be there for my team, but I have to worry about getting healthy first," Otstott said. ". . . I would be happy running fifth or sixth or the top 10 at states because that is an accomplishment, but I feel that if I keep going it is going to affect my other seasons of track."
Special correspondent Bryan Tucker contributed to this report from Washington.