Union City Girl’s Tennis Wins Regional Championship
The been-there-done-that approach worked perfectly for the Union City girls’ tennis team.
Calm and confident in the postseason after last year’s Class 1A state runner-up finish, the Lady Tornadoes rolled to an impressive 4-0 victory over South Gibson County Wednesday for the program’s fourth straight regional championship.
School Communications Director Mike Hutchens said the team title was the 15th in the decorated history of the high school girls’ program, with only the canceled COVID season of 2020 keeping the Twister girls from winning five in a row.
The Purple and Gold netters (12-7), winners of five straight matches, now need just one more victory next Thursday in the sectionals, to punch their ticket for a Spring Fling return.
Such an accomplishment would mark the 10th time ever for the Tornadoes to play on the state’s biggest stage.
Union City’s superior play Wednesday was fueled by past positive experience with a roster that boasts four players who were part of last season’s march on Murfreesboro, according to head coach Tom Sisco.
“You could tell we’ve been here before and been successful at this level,” Sisco said. “There were no jitters or cases of nerves. I truly believe we were able to draw on that experience, and it was important to get off to a good start and take immediate control.”
Top seed Shelby Bondurant continued her postseason dominance, beating South Gibson’s Chloe Carpenter 6-0, 6-0. Bondurant was aggressive from the outset, attacking with powerful ground strokes and a booming serve.
Bondurant has won 24 of 26 games in tourney play.
“That’s what you’re looking for in a number-one player,” Sisco said. “Shelby came out and dominated. She set the tone, and that’s a real boost to have the rest of your players look over to your No. 1 and see her play impressively. She’s a leader, and she takes charge. She really does work hard at getting better. And it is showing at just the right time for us.”
Union City also got steady performances and convincing wins from sophomore twins Dani and Davey Frankum, who each rolled in straight sets.
Fourth-seed Dani won four of the first five games against Rena Crawford on her way to an impressive 6-1, 6-0 victory, while Davey was in complete control in a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Sara Kate Camp, closing out the match on a perfectly placed lob shot.
The most competitive match of the day came at the No. 2 spot, where Molly Kizer rallied in both sets to finally put away Morgan Chicantek 7-5, 6-3.
Kizer was down 5-4 in the first set and 2-1 in the second before finding her groove at the most opportune times.
Freshman Bertie Jenkins was ahead 1-0 in a deciding third set after splitting the first two (6-4, 1-6) against McKenzie Scherer when the match was called after Kizer’s clinching win.
South Gibson ends its season with a 14-9 mark.