Just before defending state champion Mills Godwin clinched a 5-0 victory over Langley in the Virginia AAA girls' team tennis championship today, Liz Emery and Marissa Matthews remained the only Saxons playing their singles matches at Old Dominion University.
Langley had dropped four singles matches to that point, and top-seeded Emery and No. 3 seed Matthews both needed to win to extend the match into doubles. Their teammates and a handful of spectators came over to cheer them on.
"I was looking around and obviously I saw that we weren't winning," Emery said. "But I felt I had to play on to give us a chance."
When Mills Godwin's Lindsay Howard finished off Emery, 6-2, 6-3, there was nothing left for the Saxons but the memory of a groundbreaking season and the hope they might return to the state final.
"When I looked out there and saw the girls were fighting, I said, 'It doesn't get any better than this,' " Langley Coach Heidi Tilley said. "Well, obviously it could, but what I mean is, I couldn't be more pleased with the way we played."
It was the first appearance for Langley (17-1) in the girls' team state championship, Tilley said. Emery and Sammy Kingsley will compete in the state doubles championships Friday in Norfolk.
Mills Godwin (19-1) hasn't dropped a singles or doubles match since September and didn't lose a set in three state tournament matches.