Union City Punches Ticket to State Tennis Tournament

 Union City Punches Ticket to State Tennis Tournament

The Union City Lady Tornadoes earned a spot in the TSSAA State Tennis Tournament on Thursday….(photos: Mike Hutchens – Union City School Communications Director)

Twins Dani and Davey Frankum have developed a never-say-die reputation during their two seasons with the Union City tennis program.

That determination and perseverance continued to serve them and their Lady Tornado teammates well Thursday.

School Communications Director Mike Hutchens said the sisters fought back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Chester County’s Emma Grace Miller and Brocke Ketchum 8-5 to help UC clinch a Class A State Tournament berth with a 4-2 victory at the Middle School Courts.

Union City’s girls’ program, winners of six straight matches and 13-7 on the season, will compete in the state tourney for the 10th time in program history on Tuesday at 1:00 in Murfreesboro against University School of Johnson City or Kingston in one of two semifinal matches.

The Lady Tornadoes stormed to a 3-0 lead in Thursday’s sectional before Chester County forced a pair of doubles matches to decide the winner.

The second-seeded Frankum siblings, as they’ve done on a handful of occasions, fell behind early before using the same will and dogged determination to storm from behind, and set off a wild celebration from their teammates and a big crowd of Union City supporters.

“As usual, they didn’t give up,” a smiling Tornado head coach Tom Sisco said after witnessing the Frankum rally. “There’s absolutely no quit in them. All they do is gut out every point – whether they are playing singles or together. You get double-determination when they’re playing doubles.”

Union City’s top-seeded doubles tandem of Shelby Bondurant and Molly Kizer were well on their way to clinching the match if the Frankum sisters hadn’t – up 6-2 against the Lady Eagle duo of Grace Compton and Ceili Davis when their match was called.

Bondurant and Kizer – both of whom won at the No. 1 and 2 singles spots – dropped their first game in doubles before hitting their stride with near-flawless play that led to five straight games won. During that period, the twosome won eight consecutive points and dominated with their respective serves.

“What I believe you’re seeing with Shelby and Molly is them hitting their stride right now,” Sisco continued. “Their timing is getting better and better, and they’re communicating well. They’ve adjusted their net play, and they’re really playing with a lot of confidence.”

Union City fell behind early in every one of their five singles matches, but, as their coach suspected they would, Bondurant and Kizer each won hard-fought encounters with Compton and Miller.

Bondurant was down 2-0 before winning three of the next four games in her first set. She broke a 5-all deadlock and claimed the opener 7-5 before getting off to a great second-set start by taking five of the first six games with several powerful ground strokes.

Kizer was down 2-1 early but rallied to win 7-5, then dominated in the second set with a 6-2 triumph.

“I felt really confident coming in that we’d get wins at the one- and two-seeds – just because of how well Shelby and Molly are playing right now,” Sisco added. “Right now, with how they’re playing, I’d put them up against anybody in Class A. I thought we were a little tentative early in all the singles matches, but that certainly didn’t last. We immediately began to have better shot-making, and our confidence started to rise.”

The Lady Tornadoes got a third win in singles play when Davey Frankum fell behind 2-0 and 4-3 before winning six of the next seven games on her way to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Davis.

Union City fell at the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, but not without a fight.

Dani Frankum lost a second-set tiebreaker 8-6 after winning four straight games to erase a 4-1 deficit in her match against Katie Lovelace. Lovelace took the first set 6-2.

Freshman Bertie Jenkins also had a spirited rally in her match to force a tiebreaker (7-2) in what was eventually a 4-6, 6-7 setback.

In addition to next week’s state team event, Bondurant and Kizer will play in the individual doubles championship on Thursday. They’ll be joined by the boys’ tandem of Charleton Wisener and Gavin Pledge, who’ll also play Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Adams Complex.

Charles Choate