Oakton senior Lizzie Stewart approached the net after moving her opponent, Cox’s Olivia Large, out of position, putting away a volley to go up by four games in the second set.
Stewart doesn’t play at the net often but got to display her full arsenal of shots in a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the Virginia 6A girls’ singles final Thursday at Fairfax Racquet Club to win her second straight state title.
Stewart’s teammate, junior Adrien Bouchet, beat Lake Braddock senior Jacob Daugherty, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, in the boys’ singles championship to complete the Cougars’ sweep.
“I was trying to come to the net more,” said Stewart, who wrapped up her victory in just 47 minutes. “I’ve been confident with my volleys.”
Stewart, a Cornell commit, had much to feel good about in the match, hitting the ball crisply and having little trouble returning Large’s big first serve and heavy forehand.
“I tried to exploit her weaknesses by moving her around a lot,” said Stewart, who has gotten to know Large well from playing in the same U.S. Tennis Association tournaments. “I know she has a weaker backhand, so I tried to hit it to that side.”
Stewart has yet to lose a match in three seasons, dating to when she was a freshman at St. Stephens’s/St. Agnes.
She will conclude her stellar high school career in the Virginia 6A team finals Saturday at Jefferson District Park when Oakton plays Cox.
“I’ve really enjoyed high school tennis,” she said. “It’ll be bittersweet when it’s over.”
The boys’ final finished nearly three hours after the girls had completed their match. Bouchet, who lost to Daugherty, 6-4, 6-1, in the 6A North region finals, knew he had to stay aggressive.
“I had to keep my intensity up and just stay positive,” Bouchet said. “In the third set, I knew I had it.”
Daugherty, a left-hander with a quick backhand, committed unforced errors throughout the match, including uncharacteristic ones on his backhand side.
The senior, however, began to find his range in the second set, breaking Bouchet for the first time and then holding serve for a 2-0 lead. Knotted at 4, the two traded breaks until Bouchet hit a forehand long to drop the set, which took almost an hour to complete.
The match ended when Daugherty, a Colgate commit, hit a backhand long. He will play again Saturday when the Bruins face Langley in the Virginia 6A team finals.
“[Winning the state title] feels really good, especially since I really wanted to play last year,” said Bouchet, who missed the region tournament last season due to injury and therefore did not have a chance to qualify for states. “To be able to come back from that was really exciting.”
In the Virginia 5A boys’ singles finals, Jefferson sophomore Mark Prettyman lost to Henrico’s Shyam Venkat, 7-5, 6-4.
Colonials senior Rena Liu lost, 6-1, 6-2, to Nina Sorkin of Deep Run in the girls’ championship.
Loudoun Valley sophomore Maddy Coffman came up short in the Virginia 3A girls’ final, losing 6-0, 6-4, to Abingdon’s Tyler Blalock.
George Mason entered the Virginia 2A finals with a representative in both the boys’ and girls’ division but came away without any wins.
Senior Jacob Morris lost to Maggie Walker’s Karl Katlaps, 7-5, 6-2, in the boys’ final, and junior Kynadi Mauney fell to Gate City’s Rosa Smith, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.