Tietgens, Blackmon fall in region final

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Marshall County senior Sarah Tietgens finished her great career, fighting and scratching before falling to Page in the Region 5A-AA final on Monday at Columbia Academy. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigerettes' doubles team of Sarah Tietgens and Lauren Blackmon battled to a three-set (6-3, 3-6, 6-4) win over Hickman County's Clea Harrelson and Kendra Beard in the first round of the Region 6A-AA Tournament at Columbia Academy on Monday, setting up a classic three-set match versus archrival Page for the region title and a berth in the Blue Cross Spring Fling.

The MCHS duo took on Lady Patriot netters MaKenna Hart and Brenna Minyard in the title match and every point the entire way was contested by both squads before Page prevailed in three sets (6-7 (9-11) 6-2, 6-3).

"That was one of the most incredible matches I have seen in region in 23 years," said MCHS head coach Dickie Adkins. "Page came to play, they are a very, very good team and we hadn't beaten them all season. We fought hard that first set to take that tiebreaker, but the champions that they are, they came back and took the second set. It was a dog fight in the third set, just a point here and a point there made the difference."

Junior Lauren Blackmon returns a serve versus Page in the Tigerettes' (7-6 (11-9), 2-6, 3-6) loss in the region title match.

In the first set, MCHS broke Page's serve in the fourth game to take an early 3-1 lead before the Lady Pats stormed back to eventually tie the set at 5-5.

Page broke the Tigerettes serve in the next game and had the serve to win the first set, but Tietgens and Blackmon dug in and broke right back to re-knot the set again at 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker was magnificent with long volleys and all four players played every point like it was the last point of the season.

MCHS went down 0-2, but came back to tie at 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5 before Page had a chance to win the set, holding a 6-5 lead in the seven-point tiebreaker that had to be won by two points.

The Tigerettes were not going to fold, winning the next two points for a chance to win at 8-7, but this time Page scored the next two points and had another chance to close out the set, leading 9-8.

Marshall County found another gear, winning three straight points to win the tiebreaker 11-9 and took a one-set-to-zero lead.

In the second set, Page got off to a quick start and never let the Tigerettes challenge as they won going away 6-2, setting up the third and final set for the region hardware.

The Tigerettes took an early 2-1 lead, but Page came back to tie at 2-2 on a service break, going into the pivotal fifth game.

At deuce, Tietgens hit what looked like was a perfect passing shot past Minyard for a game winner, but the ball was called out by Page.

Tietgens argued the call to no avail and the Lady Pats took a 3-2 lead.

From there, the momentum swung Page's way as they won three out the next four games to claim the championship at 6-3.

"The sad thing is that both of these teams deserved to go the state instead of having to win the region and that is a disagreement I have with the TSSAA," said Adkins. "But these two girls are winners in my heart and they fought hard. It could of went either way, but today just wasn't our day."