The fifth straight state tennis title was in hand for Charleston Catholic, but Christina Centofanti and Ellie Grubb had no knowledge of it Friday afternoon.
Nor would they have cared. On the wrong end of a triple match point in the No. 2 doubles semifinals, they had other worries.
The Ravenswood duo of Taylor Youell and Bess McNabb was up a set, leading 5-4 in the second set and serving for the match. To put that in prospective, the Irish were in grave danger of losing their first state tournament match since 2009, when Elizabeth Hensley lost to Wheeling Central's Alex Greco in the No. 1 singles finals.
The Irish girls have been perfect ever since, and Centofanti and Grubb dug deep to keep it that way.
Helped by a few misplays at the net, they rolled off the next five points, won the second set 7-5 and took the third set in a 7-5 tiebreaker to keep Catholic's perfection intact.
By then, the Irish had long since had both Class AA-A team championships locked up, the girls for the fifth straight year and the boys for the seventh.
"We made some changes [in strategy] on nearly every changeover," said coach David Sadd. "We were really fortunate. Anytime you come back from three match points down there's a little bit of fortune going your way, so I was happy for the girls."
Championship play begins at 8 a.m. today, with all No. 1 and No. 2 singles taking the court first. After the last singles match and an awards ceremony, the doubles will begin immediately after.
Catholic will be playing in all seven finals on both the boys and girls sides, as the Catholic boys anted up their perfect 15 points. Interesting tidbit about the Irish boys: They will face opponents from six different schools - St. Joseph (twice), Oak Hill, Bluefield, Lincoln, Shady Spring and Moorefield.
At the top of the ticket, Mark Cassis will try again to beat a Meade from St. Joe at No. 1 singles. But instead of being worn out by Rich Meade, as he was last year, he will take on brother Max, a freshman.
Cassis owns three victories against the younger Meade this season, 9-7, 8-3 and 8-1.
"Max has a killer forehand; Rich was more of an all-around player," Cassis said. "Max is much more offensive, so it'll be tough."
The Irish boys had one tough match out of seven semifinals Friday, when Tanner Whipkey and Ben Canfield won an 8-6 tiebreaker in the No. 3 doubles semifinals to stay out of a third set against Oak Hill's Joel Bracken and Aaron Gray. Other than that match, the Irish yielded 10 games in 9 matches.