Tigerette pride, determination displayed in sectional loss

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
A determined MCHS junior Sara Tietgens took it to the limit versus CPA's Virginia Williams, battling for almost three hours before falling (3-6, 7-5, 6-4) in the Tigerettes' 4-2 sectional loss to the Lady Lions Thursday at the Sequoia Swim and Tennis Club in Nashville. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Up in Music City on Tuesday, a familiar tune of true grit was heard meandering and floating around the Sequoia Swim and Tennis Club in Nashville as the Marshall County Tigerettes took on the undefeated and reigning state champion Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) Lady Lions in the Section 3A/AA Team tennis final.

The same old song, just a different verse for head coach Dickie Adkins and his squad of brave lady cats, who scratched and clawed for four hours before finally falling, 4-2.

MCHS head coach Dickie Adkins said after the game, "I have never had a better effort in twenty-two years of coaching. These are the state champs and we were the big time underdogs."

Sophomore Lauren Blackmon got the Tigerettes on the board first in the sectional battle, disposing of Mary Morgan Smith in straight sets (6-3, 6-1).

"We came so close, the score doesn't indicate how close we came to winning this match," said Adkins. "All the girls gave more than one hundred percent, they laid it on the line, plus they were a class act."

The underdog girls from Lewisburg knew going in that the task was one of the toughest they had ever faced and in the first two singles' matches, CPA showed their prowess as number one seed Allison Adcock and number two seed Kelsi Richardson won one game between them versus state singles champion Sydney Campbell and Katherine Schofield.

Both matches lasted about thirty minutes.

Campbell is the number one ranked player in her age group in Tennessee and 11th overall in the nation, while Schofield is ranked number two in Tennessee and 130th in the nation.

Remarkably, both players did not play with CPA during the regular season, only showing up for the playoffs.

What happened after that was entirely true grit, beginning with a huge (6-3, 6-1) straight set win from Marshall County's number four seed Lauren Blackmon over Mary Morgan Smith.

The Tigerettes' number five seed Carly Brown played her best tennis of the year, grinding out a (7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-2) victory over Morgan Atkinson, tying the match at 2-2.

On the near court, the red-hot MCHS junior Sara Tietgens went three exciting and excruciating sets with Virginia Williams in a two-minute, fifty nine second marathon match that will be remembered a long time for the sheer grit, determination, and athleticism shown by both players with Williams prevailing (6-3, 5-7,-6-4).

Tietgens said, "The first set was a little rough, but I feel like I played a lot better the second and third, I don't feel like I gave up at all, but the third set didn't go my way."

"It was a lot more fun playing with somebody who was a lot more challenge, I am not used to that, but I appreciated the chance to play with them."

The blossoming of Tietgens this season has not been lost on Adkins and the longtime coach said about the great match. "That is one of the best matches I have ever seen in sub-state play."

No one expected the match to be pushed to the doubles portion of the ledger, but it was and MCHS faced another uphill battle, having to win both matches to advance to the Spring Fling.

CPA stepped on the gas again, winning the deciding match 8-1.

"I think they overlooked us," said Adkins. "We made them play, they know they played. It was all focus coming up here and I am proud of the way the girls held their own ground. I think this was the most points taking off of them in a long time."

Adcock, Blackmon, Brown, Richardson and Tietgens were all recently named to the All-District squad and Adcock and Richardson made the All-Region squad.

MCHS will make their 2011 Spring Fling debut on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at Old Fort Park in the individual doubles with Richardson and Adcock taking on Kia Batiste and Morgan Arrants from Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) in an all senior match-up.

Region champs Connor Kennedy and Justin Killian, who were both recently named to the 2011 All-District and All-Region teams take on Will Sparks and Cameron Dickerson from CAK at the same time.