After taking some lumps early in the season, the George Mason High School girls varsity tennis team has won three of its last four matches, including the first meeting of the year against Clarke County, the Mustangs' only opposition for the Bull Run District title.
On Tuesday, April 22 the team outlasted Freedom-South Riding, prevailing 7-2 and avenging a 7-2 loss to that team just 20 days earlier.
The Mustangs took a 4-2 lead in the match following the completion of singles competition. Mason's No. 1 player, Michelle Repper, set the tone for the afternoon by breezing past her adversary 10-0. In what Mason Head Coach Chris Madison labeled her “best match of the year,” No. 4 player Claire Sedmak added to the Mustangs' win total with a 10-4 victory over her opponent, after South Riding claimed both contests at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Isis Hanna and Tyler Morris tilted the even match in the Mustangs' favor with a pair of 10-2 wins, setting the stage for Mason's eventual victory in doubles' play.
The Mustangs secured their first district win of the season on April 17, when the team topped the Clarke County Eagles, 7-2. The Mustangs stormed ahead thanks to performances from the top three players on their tennis ladder, Repper, Kelsey Kane and Annie Zweighaft. Repper played to her usual fine form, winning easily 10-2, as Kane followed suit with a 10-1 ledger. Zweighaft had to battle through some early adversity in the form of a 3-0 deficit, but cruised from there to a 10-4 win.
Hanna similarly was forced to rally. Trailing 8-5, she eventually pulled even and prevailed, 11-9. A sweep by the Mustangs in the doubles portion of the match accounted for the final margin.
The team seems to be hitting its stride at the right time after skidding to six straight losses against larger schools like Robinson and Washington-Lee. The Mustangs will square off with three more non-district opponents, beginning Thursday, April 24 at home against National Cathedral. Mason matches up against Clarke County at home for the final match of the regular season on May 7. A win there would give the Mustangs their third straight district title. Last season, Clarke temporarily spoiled the Mustangs' coronation by defeating Mason 5-4 in Falls Church and forcing a tie-breaking third match. The tie-breaker was ultimately won by George Mason.
“Clarke will always give us a tough fight,” Madison said. “If we're fortunate enough to qualify for regionals, our path will not get any easier.”
Repper meanwhile is vying for her first Class A singles title, an honor that was claimed the past two years by now-graduated Tara Sheets of Gate City. Repper is the defending Bull Run District and Region B singles champion.
“Michelle is playing better than she ever has in a Mason uniform,” Madison said. “With Repper leading the way, this team is poised to get back to the state tournament and finish what we left unfinished the past two years, winning a state championship.”