As often as All-Met seniors Maggie MacKeever of Churchill and Alice Chen of Quince Orchard practice and compete against each other, the results on the tennis court sometimes have more to do with who can outlast the other on a given point instead of producing an outright winner.
MacKeever showed just a little more staying power yesterday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Chen to capture her fourth consecutive Montgomery County title -- three of which have come against her training and practice partner. MacKeever also became the first girl to win four straight Montgomery titles since Springbrook's Jeri Ingram (1984-88).
Although two matches were suspended due to darkness, Churchill already had clinched its third consecutive county team title with 21 points as Stephanie Mandir claimed No. 4 singles in a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alysia Rodgers of Walter Johnson.
"We both weren't playing our best," said MacKeever, the two-time defending Maryland state champion. "Since we train against each other, we don't intimidate each other. That's where the mental part of tennis sometimes comes into play. We both made a lot of unforced errors. It sometimes just comes down to who can keep the ball in play longer."
"I never found rhythm the entire match," Chen said. "She definitely makes you be a little more aggressive on points because you don't want to be on the defensive against her. I guess I made more errors than I usually do."
Chantilly Hires Birrell
Tracy Birrell has been hired to coach the Chantilly boys' soccer team, the school announced. She becomes the only female coach of a boys' soccer team in the Northern Region.
Birrell, who coached the Chantilly girls' team for the last four seasons, led the Chargers to the state semifinals last season and was named All-Met Coach of the Year in 2003. Her experience coaching boys includes a two-year stint as Lee's varsity coach in 1999 and 2000. She takes over a team that went 6-8-3 last year.
"I'm not really coaching boys or girls," Birrell said. "I'm coaching players."
Foxcroft Wins Makeup
The date was different, but the result was the same. Foxcroft's field hockey team defeated Georgetown Visitation, 2-1, in overtime, a makeup date after the Foxes' Sept. 13 win over the Cubs was overturned by the Independent Schools League because of a referee's timing error.
The importance of the game, which gave Foxcroft (11-2-1, 8-2-1) its first win over Visitation (5-6-3, 4-5-2), was not lost on Headmistress Mary Lou Leipheimer. She asked every student to attend at the Middleburg school's morning meeting and dismissed classes 15 minutes early.
Foxcroft junior forward Joanna French scored on a redirection from sophomore Chelsy Coil with two minutes left in overtime. "We all sprint off the bench and we were met by all the fans at the goal and we were just hugging," Foxcroft Coach Katie Kantz said.
The ISL tournament is scheduled to begin Wednesday. Foxcroft will have a first-round bye.
-- Judith Evans, Rich Campbell and Liam Dillon