Sectional losses end Lewisburg team tennis' season

Friday, May 15, 2009
Marshall County's Rachel Wolfe battled three sets with DCA's #1 seed Caroline Fly before falling (2-6, 6-4, 3-6)

The Marshall County High School boys and girls tennis teams were already inking a new chapter in the program's record book by their dual appearances in TSSAA Class A/AA sectional tennis matches.

Both squads had the tough task of trekking up to Music City against tough opponents from Nashville private schools and both returned home on the short end of the tally book, ending their seasons.

The boys team went up against Franklin Road Academy on Wednesday and was shutout 5-0.

On Thursday, the Tigerettes traveled to the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Tennis Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University for their sectional match versus Donelson Christian Academy (DCA) and battled tooth and nail before finally succumbing 4-2.

DCA number one seed Caroline Fly had her hands full with top-seeded Tigerette Rachel Wolfe as the two talented ladies battled over two hours in a three set barn burner before Fly eventually prevailed (2-6, 6-4, 3-6).

Wolfe will continue her tennis career at Martin-Methodist College next year.

In the number two slot on the lineup card was Marshall County's Jenna Branaman and DCA's Hannah Johnson. Branaman jumped out to a fast 6-3 win in set number one before Johnson rallied for wins in the next two sets (6-2, 6-0) for the victory.

Third in the seedings were Lyssa Wiles from MCHS and Lady Wildcat Chelsea Harrison.

Wiles led early in the first set, but Harrison came back late to tie the set at 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker to 7. Both players played some inspired tennis during the tiebreaker before Wiles pulled out a 9-7 win for the first set.

Wiles would go to take the second set 6-3, winning the match.

Kelsi Richardson was in the four hole and came out flying, leading 2-0 in the first set to Gabbie Starace before the DCA player picked up the pace to win in two sets (6-2, 6-2).

Marshall County was down 3-2 and DCA needed just one more match for the sub-state win and a trip to the Blue Cross Spring Fling.

In their way was Tigerette sophomore Allison Adcock, who has had an incredible post-season, claiming both runner-up spots in the district and region singles tournaments.

Adcock was up and ready for the challenge, pasting DCA's Kirsten Stricklin six-love in the first set. Stricklin scratched and clawed her way back into the match, winning the second set 6-3.

The young lefty from Lewisburg dug down deep in the deciding third-set, winning going away 6-1 to force the doubles' competition.

MCHS would have to win both matches to advance to the state tournament.

Next week's state tournament qualifiers Wiles and Branaman took the court versus DCA's Fly/Johnson while the Tigerette duo of Wolfe and Richardson laced up their tennis shoes for a match versus Harrison/Starace.

Fly and Johnson jumped all over the Tigerettes' top-seed, winning in short fashion 8-1 to take the sub-state win and a trip to Murfreesboro 4-2.

MCHS head coach Dickie Adkins said after the match, "Of all the sub-state matches I have taken teams to, this was the hardest fought. Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make it to state as a team and we came up just one win short."

Adkins added, "Everyone on the team gave a hundred and twenty percent today. I know we are as good as they are. Sometimes it's hard for a coach to say you played well when you really didn't, but I am saying we played well. I am just as proud of this team as if we were going to state."

Wiles and Branaman will try to avenge the team loss when they open up doubles competition at the Fling next Thursday at Old Fort Park versus Cumberland Gap's Rebecca Webb and Courtney Crowder at 9am.