By JOSH STROPE
WHEELING - It was a little like deja vu for Linsly coach Dave Reithmiller.
PHOTO BY JOSH STROPE
St. Clairsville’s Brittanni Rauschenberg eyes her shot.
PHOTO BY JOSH STROPE
Wheeling Park’s C.J. Petrini returns a shot during action of the OVAC Tennis Tournament on Thursday in Wheeling
His Cadets were crowned the OVAC Class 1A-4A girls' tennis champions for the second consecutive season Thursday at the Wheeling Park Bubble. But like last year, it was a team from Morgantown that took home the big red banner.
University won its first OVAC championship, claiming the 5A tennis title and the overall crown. The Hawks and Cadets finished tied with 21 points, but University won the tiebreaker with four champions to Linsly's two.
''This happened to us last year but I think it's great that they give out a small school title,'' Reithmiller said. ''Those big schools are hard to beat. But I am so proud of these girls. Two years in a row to not be out-pointed by a big school.
''This means a lot to our seniors and they are a great group. This was one of our goals.''
Leading the way for Linsly, again, was Jackie McDermott.
Last season she was the freshman that took the tournament by storm. This time around, she made it look easy in winning the No. 2 Singles title for the second straight year.
The top seed received a bye and made quick work of Weir's Meghan Finton and University's Meghan Zerkel before setting up a championship bout with Morgantown freshman Abby Rosiello.
The two played a couple weeks ago and Rosiello took McDermott to the limit before falling in a tiebreaker. Rosiello took the first point Thursday, then it was all McDermott.
The Linsly sophomore ran Rosiello all over the court, placing her shots in perfect spots to run off the next eight points and win the championship.
''I felt a lot better playing her this time,'' McDermott said. ''I knew her style, and I knew what to expect. (Reithmiller) knew how to coach me. We did a lot of drills in practice leading up to it that really helped to prepare me.
''She serves and volleys and (Reithmiller) had my sister serve that way. The first time we played it kind of overwhelmed me because people don't normally serve that way. Coach really coached me up to be strong mentally for it. I might not be the fastest but I know how to keep myself under control.''
While McDermott is obviously proud of winning her singles title, it was the doubles trophy she took home with her sister, Morgan, that meant the most.
The two teamed to defeated Rosiello and Stephanie Arnold for the No. 1 Doubles championship Tuesday.
''It's like surreal,'' Jackie said. ''My doubles title means so much because my sister means so much to me. It's not easy to play with your sister but Coach always tells us that any thing that is worthwhile is difficult. At times it was difficult, but so worth it.''
McDermott wasn't the only repeat winner.
The No. 1 and No. 3 Singles matches were rematches from last season and both went by the same script.
At No. 1, Arnold defeated Wheeling Park's C.J. Petrini, 8-1, while Alyssa Rees defeated Linsly's Regan Stein, 8-3, at No. 3.
The final match of the day was the No. 4 Singles showdown between University's Cassie Seamon and Linsly's Hannah Soloninka. At this point, the Cadets held a one-point lead on the Hawks. Because of the tiebreaker, the winner of this match was going to win the overall title for her team.
Seamon didn't prolong the suspense, winning 8-0. The victory kept Seamon, and University, perfect for the season. The Hawks are 16-0 as a team.
''I have always told them that has been a team-winning thing,'' University coach Tom Bloom said. ''University High has a very good tennis program and this is the next step in the process of heading toward states.
''It came down to the last two matches with Linsly and Alyssa came through and Cassie wanted to prove a point and she won 8-0. University High is looking forward to being around playing tennis for a while as part of the OVAC.''
Morgantown was the runner-up in Class 5A, while Wheeling Central was second place in Class 4A-1A.
Oak Glen's Solita Krauss was the reciepent of the Carol Strasser Sportsmanship Award.