Union City Settles for Runner-Up Trophy in TSSAA Class 1A Tennis Tournament
Sometimes, all one can do is tip their cap and hope for another day.
Such was the instance for the Union City girls’ tennis team in Wednesday’s Class 1A state title match.
School Communications Director Mike Hutchens said reigning champion, and unbeaten Summertown, forced the Lady Tornadoes to settle for silver for the second straight year and fourth time in program history with a 4-0 win at the Adams Tennis Complex.
The loss ended the team portion of Union City’s season. However, the doubles teams of Shelby Bondurant and Molly Kizer and the boys’ tandem of Charleton Wisener and Gavin Pledge will play in the individual portion of the state tourney Thursday morning at 9:00 in quarterfinal matches.
Though the Twister girls showed considerable fight and grit in three matches while extending Wednesday’s team final, a deep, talented, and experienced Summertown squad ultimately completed a perfect season and repeat bid with their 23rd win in as many matches.
“That’s a really good tennis team,” head coach Tom Sisco said, nodding toward the Lady Eagles squad. “They returned four starters from last year’s state championship bunch, and their fifth girl was a coach’s kid. They had a great game plan. They were aggressive, and they hit effective slices and lob shots, and served well. They were hard to deal with. You have to tip your hat to them.”
With all underclassmen on their state tourney roster, the Lady Tornadoes (14-8) did battle to the very end before seeing their seven-match winning streak end.
Freshman Bertie Jenkins held a 5-3 lead in the second set of her fifth-seed match against Hope Jones before falling 6-1, 7-5. And No. 2 seed Molly Kizer trailed 5-0 in the second set against Libby Konig before rallying with four straight games in what ended up as a 6-1, 6-4 setback.
Top seed Shelby Bondurant also displayed some spunk, coming back from 4-1 down to within 5-4 in the second set before her match with Gracie Kelly was called after Summertown had notched its clinching win.
Twins Davey and Dani Frankum fought hard before coming up short in their respective matches against Emma Perry and Analee Kelly, losing 6-3, 6-2, and 6-2, 6-2.
“We thought we could get to this point,” Sisco said when discussing his team’s championship match run. “And I thought our girls had ‘that look’ in their eyes that they were ready this morning before the match. I know they’re disappointed. The good thing is that we have everyone coming back next season, and this was more experience gained at this level. What we have to do is get some more individualized instruction, continue to work on our games, and have a little bit better understanding of how to manipulate our opponents with particular shots – like Summertown did today.”
Bondurant and Kizer will face Macey Bunch and Connleigh Irwin of Meigs County in their quarterfinal match Thursday morning and then move on to the quarterfinals at 2 o’clock if they win.
Wisener and Pledge play Watertown’s Blake Myer and Ben Purnell in the boys’ quarterfinal round and would advance to a 2 p.m. semifinal match should they triumph.
The state finals for both girls and boys are slated for 11 a.m. Friday morning