The McLean High School boys’ tennis team posted a dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 victory at George Mason University on Saturday June 10, claiming the Virginia Group 6A team championship over an excellent Oakton High School team. McLean completed a perfect season going 19-0 in VHSL play.
McLean had played Oakton in the North Region final just a week before with a straight forward 5-0 victory, but Oakton was missing a key injured player. In the rematch, the Mclean Highlanders knew the State 6A Team Championship contest would be a battle.
The team competition consists of six singles and three doubles matches. The side winning five individual matches would win the overall team match. On Saturday, after singles play, Oakton led 4-2 with victories from #3 Tyler Hyun, #4 Nick Nguyen, #5 Avery Vogelzang and #6 Avery Olsen. McLean's wins were from #1 Ben Keyser and #2 Matthew Tran. Oakton only needed to win one more individual win to clinch another state title.
In the doubles, Oakton started quickly. The first on the court was McLean’s #3 team of Jason Wang/Andrew Lacaden versus Oakton’s Vogelzang/Olsen. The first set went to a tie breaker but McLean emerged with the win. Next, McLean's #2 Jing Waid/Andrew Donelson went to battle with Oakton’s Nick Nguyen/Tyler Hyun resulting in another hard fought victory for McLean.
With the team match tied at 4-4, the Championship came down to the #1 doubles contest between McLean’s team of Keyser/Tran versus Oakton’s team of O’Connor/Ryan Nguyen. Oakton won the first set, but McLean battled back taking the second set. Both teams were cheered on by hundreds of excited spectators. The decisive third set went to McLean on a ground stroke winner from Matthew Tran providing the team victory and giving McLean the state title. The Virginia State Group 6A Championship team title is a historic first for Mclean High School. It represents the first and only state title for any boys’ sports team in the school’s 62 year history.
The Highlander’s Head Coach, Aavo Tomkov explained, “the 6A North Region is really strong. During my 10 years as head coach, the McLean team reached the semi-finals six years in a row before that we finally advanced to the state team championship this season.” Assistant Coach Donelson attributed McLean’ success this year to the depth and the work ethic of the entire team. As evidenced by all six of the Highlander starters being selected as All Conference First team for singles and doubles and many went on to make the All Region team. Donelson added, “It’s beeen a magical year, and I’m so happy for our 14 graduating seniors to see them cap off their high school careers with a State Championship.”