Western Albemarle girls tennis coach Ellen Markowitz did everything she could to keep it secret from Hannah Kearns that the senior was closing in on 100 career wins in team match play. She even sort of refused to answer Kearns’ own question about it on Wednesday after the region semifinals.
But Kearns, a four-year starter who has been a rock for the Warriors in the lineup, had an inkling going into the Class 3, Region C final against Turner Ashby Thursday.
“I knew I was getting close and we still have matches left but I knew it was going to be close because I’d been injured,” Kearns said. “And then Ellen brought out a poster that she’d made me.”
The poster spelled out 100 in Starburst pieces as Kearns’ 6-2, 6-3 win over Turner Ashby’s Emma Nesselrodt at No. 1 singles secured Kearns’ 100th career victory. But more important to the Warriors’ senior, it helped clinch the region championship and a home game in the state quarterfinals.
“I think everyone is excited now that they’ve how good we’ve gotten,” Kearns said. “This gives us the opportunity to host and that’ll be nice.”
Western had to fight for that win, with Lilly Moore in particular having to battle at No. 4 singles. Moore fell 6-3 in the first set and bounced back to win a tough 7-5 second set and then close the door with a 6-2 win. That was big because an ankle injury had forced No. 5 Sarah Inman to retire from a heroic battle in her match where she’d won the first set 7-5 and was tied at 5-5 before retiring.
Even No. 6 Jenny Little had to fight for her win, winning 7-6 (2), 6-3.
“Turner Ashby played really well well but we pulled it off in singles which is always nice,” Kearns said.
Corinne Jennings won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 singles while Anna O’Shea rolled 6-1, 6-1 at No.3.
The Warriors move on to the state quarterfinals on June 2. They’ll host that match.
Western 5, Turner Ashby 1
Hannah Kearns (Western) def. Emma Nesselrodt 6-2 6-3
Corrine Jennings (WA) def. Malena Hoover 6-0, 6-1
Anna O’Shea (WA) def. Rachel Showalter 6-1, 6-1
Lilly Moore (WA) def. Carter Young 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Valeria Santos (TA) def. Sarah Inman 7-5, 5-5 (retired)
Jenny Little (WA) def. Grace Pierantoni 7-6 (2), 6-3