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Can Kellam slow the Cox juggernaut?


Coastal Conference girls tennis saved its best for last.

Cox and Kellam, two of the three undefeated teams remaining in South Hampton Roads (Nansemond River) will meet for league supremacy in the regular season finale Wednesday at Kellam in a match that features everything from A (Kellam's Amanda Yermal) to Z (Cox's Zoe Fraser).

In fact, the Yermal-Fraser showdown would be enough to sell tickets if it was the only match on the card. Most observers - at least the ones we tracked down - believe these are the two best public school players in South Hampton Roads. But which one's No. 1? Our sources were hesitant to pick a side. Even Fraser, while expressing confidence, fully understands the caliber of player she's up against.

"We've had tough matches in the past and it'll definitely be a tough match again," Fraser said.

Another compelling pairing will come at No. 2 singles where Cox's Olivia McNulty tangles with Kellam's Madison Boone.

In short, the Knights are the rare team that can legitimately compete for victories against the Falcons' vaunted top two stars.

Although we ranked Cox No. 1 and Kellam No. 3 recently in our own humble rankings, the Knights have actually had the smoother ride to this point. Kellam's closest matches were 7-2 victories over Princess Anne and First Colonial: Cox survived a 5-4 battle with Granby - a team Kellam didn't play - and was tied 3-3 after singles against First Colonial before sweeping all three doubles.

We'd caution against reading too much into this, though, as history tells us that the scent of a title tends to bring out the best in these Falcons, several of whom were on the 2016 state championhip squad. That said, this looks to be a 50-50 match that likely won't be settled until well after it gets dark.

So if you're planning to check this one out, pack a lunch.

Maybe dinner, too.

The rest of Wednesday schedule (coaches, don't forget to report your schools to our Facebook page):

Coastal Conference (6A South)

Boys
Ocean Lakes at Tallwood, 3:30 p.m.
Kellam at Cox, 3:30 p.m.
     = Falcons can clinch conference's No. 2 seed in region tournament with a victory.
Landstown at Bayside, 3:30 p.m.
     - Undefeated Eagles look to be the best public school team in the area.

Girls
Cox at Kellam, 3:30 p.m.
     - Get your popcorn ready!
Tallwood at Ocean Lakes, 3:30 p.m.
Bayside at Landstown, 3:30 p.m.

Atlantic Conference (5A South)

Boys
Princess Anne at Hickory, 3:30 p.m.
     - The Cavaliers look to cap an undefeated conference regular season.
Maury at Indian River, 5:30 p.m.
    - Commodores clinch the league's second region bid with a victory and a Hickory loss to Princess Anne.
Salem at Norview, 3:30 p.m.
Green Run at Kempsville, 3:30 p.m.

Girls
Hickory at Princess Anne, 3:30 p.m.
     - Match of the day on the girls side; conference title at stake.
Norview at Salem, 3:30 p.m.
Indian River at Maury, 5:30 p.m.
Kempsville at Green Run, 3:30 p.m.

Conference 17 (4A East)

Boys
Churchland at Deep Creek, 5:30 p.m.
King's Fork at Wilson, 5:30 p.m.
Great Bridge at Lake Taylor, 5:30 p.m.

Girls
Deep Creek at Churchland, 5:30 p.m.
     - Another showcase for Hornets star Jahveesha Combs, who should be in the discussion for area's best public school player.
Wilson at King's Fork, 5:30 p.m.
Lake Taylor at Great Bridge, 5:30 p.m.




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