Early in the first set Wednesday of the Virginia 6A North region boys’ singles final, Lake Braddock’s Jacob Daugherty unleashed a barrage of blistering backhands to Oakton’s Adrien Bouchet.
But instead of his favorite shot resulting in winners as Daugherty had grown accustomed to, the ball would come back, forcing Daugherty to continue the rally.
Daugherty, a Colgate commit, didn’t let Bouchet’s tenacious defense rattle him and went on to win the match, 6-4, 6-1, on a humid afternoon at Battlefield.
“For me it was just keeping my focus and my composure,” said Daugherty, who transferred to Lake Braddock in July after playing three years at Belton High School in Texas. “I settled in after the first set and started hitting more freely.”
Bouchet, a junior, effectively neutralized the left-handed Daugherty’s offensive weapons in the beginning and led 4-3 after breaking the senior twice.
“I was just hitting high and heavy to his backhand,” said Bouchet, who had been undefeated this season and was the Conference 5 boys’ singles and doubles champion. “That way he would more likely hit it into the net.”
Daugherty, however, stayed patient and was able to break back and hold serve to go up 5-4. He never trailed again.
“I started taking control from the beginning of the point and tried to move him around,” said Daugherty, who won both singles and doubles titles at the Conference 7 tournament.
“In the first set he was hitting some shots back, and I was going for too much, too soon.”
In the girls’ singles semifinals, Oakton senior Lizzie Stewart rolled over T.C. Williams sophomore Sydney Yao, 6-0, 6-0, in less than an hour.
She will face West Springfield freshman Hannah Yang, a 6-1, 6-1 winner over freshman Valerie Marshall of Yorktown, in the final Thursday.
“I kept her moving once I put her on the run,” said Stewart, the 2013 All-Met Player of the Year who will be playing at Cornell in the fall. “And then she just started making more errors.”
Stewart, who won the Conference 5 girls’ singles and doubles title, has dropped only one game so far this tournament and hasn’t lost a high school match in three seasons.
She also dominated in doubles, sweeping Yorktown’s Marshall and Zoe Dormuth, 6-0, 6-0, with teammate Lindsey Le in the girls’ semifinals.
The duo, undefeated this season and yet to lose a game in the region tournament, will play in the final against West Springfield’s Yang and Natalie Pham, who beat Langley’s Simone Stoyen and Kelly Xie, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, in a match that lasted nearly three hours.
In the boys’ doubles finals, it was an all-Lake Braddock match as Daugherty and senior Long Huynh beat teammates Alex Nesterovich and Eric Yoo, 6-3, 6-4.
All the players that reached the region finals will play in the Virginia state tournament next week at Jefferson District Park.
“Ever since freshman year I’ve wanted to play in states,” Huynh said. “That’s what I wanted — to leave our legacy for the school.”