Churchill sophomore Maggie MacKeever always seems to struggle against Glenelg's Julia Facchina and her topspin shots.
Until yesterday. That's when MacKeever snapped Facchina's 27-match win streak with a 7-5, 6-4 victory for her first Maryland girls' singles state championship. With the victory, MacKeever capped an undefeated season (22-0) in which she also won the Montgomery County and Region III titles.
MacKeever entered yesterday's championship match after overcoming a one-set deficit in the semifinals to pull out a 6-7 (7-0), 6-4, 6-4 victory against Ashley Harverdy of Catonsville.
After an hour break, what little rhythm the two-time All-Met MacKeever carried into her match against Facchina quickly evaporated. After taking a 2-1 lead in the first set, Facchina broke MacKeever twice and held serve to take a 4-3 lead. Two games later, she broke Facchina again for a 5-4 lead. But MacKeever won the last three games to take the set at 7-5.
"It's an unusual style to play against," said MacKeever, who lost to Facchina in the first round of the state tournament last year. "It's a good style for her because she plays it so well. You could see I was having trouble. It's really frustrating when someone mixes it up so well."
In the second set, MacKeever became more aggressive with her shots and was able to string together just enough points to overtake Facchina. MacKeever dropped only six points in winning the final three games to win the set.
"She just played better," said Facchina who won the Howard County and Region II titles to advance to the state tournament. "I can't complain. I've done pretty well as much as I play. Maggie played well."
The girls' singles final was one of five matches in which a Montgomery County player qualified. In the girls' doubles, top-seeded Debbie Lin and Tiffany Hodges of Walter Johnson advanced to the final, losing, 6-1, 6-1, to second seeded Jessica Ahn and Anita Sahu of C.M. Wright. Walter Johnson had three teams in the finals with others in mixed and boys' doubles.
"They [C.M. Wright] were on fire," Hodges said. "This team didn't play a conventional doubles style where you try to get to the net and volley. It wasn't something we were used to, and we didn't adapt . . . It [the tournament] was fun. We had a lot of competition."