So close came the Potomac School Panthers to winning another state tennis championship.
The top seed and defending champion of the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association’s eight-team Division I girls tournament lost, 5-4, in the title match to second-seed Collegiate School of Richmond.
The high-school clash got a later than expected afternoon start because of rain. The outcome was decided at the No. 1 doubles match, with the Collegiate pair winning, 7-5, as darkness fell on the Potomac School’s home outside court, and the temperature dropped to 41 degrees.
“We had no light left. If that doubles match had gone to a tiebreaker, I don’t know what we would have done,” Potomac School coach Rob Lee said. “We were considering the options.”
Potomac School finished 2-1 in the state tourney, playing all three matches on its home court. The Panthers blanked sixth seed St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in the first round, then nipped fourth seed Norfolk Academy, 5-4, in the semifinals. Collegiate defeated No. 6 seed Flint Hill, 5-1, in the first round then St. Christopher’s, 5-1, in the semifinals.
“This was an incredible group of girls we had this season and they played so hard in every match,” Lee said. “
Prior to the state competition, Potomac School lost in the semifinals to Holton-Arms, 4-3, in the Independent School League AA Division tournament. The Panthers ended with a 15-3 overall record.
Potomac School’s No. 1 singles player was junior Lauren Foster. Playing No. 2 was senior co-captain Audrey Lee, who compiled a 17-2 record. Junior Maia Phillips was the No. 3 player and freshman Leela Iyer No. 4, finishing 21-3.
At No. 1 doubles were sophomore Gigi Giebel and freshman Sonali Sachdeva. Playing No. 2 were sophomores Daelyn Dimps and Hope Dennis, and at No. 3 was senior Ellie Yoon and freshman Deja Dimps. Seniors Kate Fischer, Grace Davidson and Anna Heller also played in some matches for the Panthers.
“It was a treat and a privilege to be able to work with such amazing young ladies,” Lee said.
NOTE: Potomac School also finished second in the state tournament in 2002 . . . Lee, the school’s assistant athletic director, took over this season for longtime head coach Marty Hublitz, who had some health issues and decided not to coach this fall. Chris Caskin was Lee’s assistant.