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Girls tennis takes district regular season title

South Boston News
HCHS girls’ tennis celebrates its district regular season championship. / May 06, 2019

Halifax County High School girls tennis has clinched the Piedmont District regular season title.

The Comets edged Bassett at home, 5-4.

“With an excellent team effort, our girls defeated a strong Bassett High School team at home Friday. This secured a first place finish in the Piedmont District,” said Comet coach Donna Hudson.

At 1 and 2, Kendall Foushee and Rose Ruotolo-Sarnataro blasted Bassett.

“To get 8-0, 8-0 wins in those top two spots against such a formidable opponent speaks volumes for the focus Kendall and Rose have been putting in at practice and on the courts. We have been working with Kendall on coming out for the first serve at full pace, and she definitely did that today. Rose struggled a little against her opponent from Patrick on Wednesday, but that probably did a lot to prepare her to be more aggressive against Bassett on Friday,” said Hudson.

“Both these girls are hitting and moving the ball well. Kendall plays aggressively, Rose a bit more defensively, but both are effective,” said Hudson.

“The matches on 3, 4, 5, and 6 were much closer, with Halifax and Bassett trading games in hard exchanges to the end. Halifax had Ellie Hall at 3, Blair Cole at 4, and Maelyn Edwards at 5.

“Ellie was not feeling her best, but she stayed in the match battling a strong opponent. Blair had a really good game, much better than her final scores indicate. Both these girls are fun to watch play — they are tall and lean and they go after every ball,” said Hudson.

“They put the effort in today, but just couldn’t keep the edge on their opponents. Ellie lost 5-8, and Blair lost 3-8.

“Maelyn Edwards was the lone winner for Halifax on the middle courts. She lost her first game, and had to battle from there. Maelyn really put the effort into this game, going strong after balls that looked impossible to get, and sending them back over the net. She was at 5-4 before she ever had more 1 game lead, but she finished out strong for an essential win on her court, tipping the balance our way.

“At 6, Amanda Duffer was playing her first match as the 6 seed, having narrowly edged Sarah Lacks out of the spot in practice this week. We have had Sarah Lacks, Nya Brandon, and now Amanda as our 6 — all three of these girls could play higher seeds on most teams, and it just depends on the day as to which is strongest.

“That makes it tough for them, but it means Halifax can count on having a strong player at 6, with more strong players ready to play as needed.

“Amanda had a great showing in her first match at this spot. She took control from the start and never faltered. She has a great serve, one of the strongest on the team, and she enjoys putting that to work for her.She won 8-3 to give us an enviable 4-2 lead going into doubles,” said Hudson.

“We felt pretty confident with our doubles, as we have only lost a total of two matches in doubles for the season. We’ve continued to remix our pairings though, and had a very different match-up from when we played Bassett at its court. Add in the fact that our 3 seed Ellie Hall wasn’t feeling well, calling for a substitution, and getting a win became a little less of a sure thing,” said Hudson.

“We kept Kendall and Rose together at the 1 seed. They have played together a lot in the last few weeks, and are a solid combination. Ellie was out, so we subbed Amanda Duffer in with Blair Cole at the 2 seed. These two have not played together, but with Blair’s experience and Amanda’s raw talent, they could be a great duo. At 3, we had our most experienced team with Maelyn and Sarah playing together at their regular spot,” said Hudson.

“We usually rely heavily on our doubles to pull us thru in close matches, so it was a little disappointing to not have quite the strong showing there that we have gotten accustomed to. Even though we knew we only needed one of those for a victory, it’s always nicer when all of them get wins. Our singles came through for us though, putting us in a position to take the win.

“With just that one win in doubles, we took first place in the Piedmont District regular season. The tremendous depth that this team has is so important to us. We remain undefeated at the three doubles spot — and that has made the difference in a win or a loss more than once.

“We can’t tell you how proud we are of this group of girls. They are a young team, playing without any seniors. They have to work hard to compete for spots on the ladder every week. They all know there is somebody pretty close them that wants their spot, and that’s tough. With challenge matches, the ladder has shifted almost weekly, which is emotionally hard on everyone.

“We have more talented players than we have positions to play them in. It speaks well of them to see that they have learned to be proud of each other, and to share each others’ victories,” said Hudson.

Halifax is gearing up for district competition, starting Wednesday. Halifax expects to host.

“Regional Competition follows the District team tournament, and our 14-1 record should put us in a good position to potentially host first round for that as well,” said Hudson. “That starts on Friday May 17, and continues Monday and Wednesday (May 22). Regional play ends May 24.

“We’ll face teams who we don’t normally play in those matches, and we’ll need to be sharp to win ... We’re going to need a little luck, but we have the talent and the will to give it a good try. We are looking forward to representing our school on the tennis courts,” said Hudson.

Here are the results in the singles:
1 Kendall Foushee defeated Jessica Beam 8-0.
2 Rose Ruotolo-Sarnataro defeated Carlee Cockram 8-0.
3 Ellie Hall lost to Megan Scott 5-8.
4 Blair Cole lost to Cara Helbert 3-8.
5 Maelyn Edwards defeated Abi Craig 8-4.
6. Amanda Duffer defeated Rya Hall 8-3.
Doubles’ results:
1 Kendall Foushee/Rose Ruotolo-Sarnataro lost to Beam/Scott 3-8.
2 Amanda Duffer (subbing for Ellie Hall)/Blair Cole lost to Cockram/Helbert 0-8.
3 Maelyn Edwards/Sarah Lacks defeated Craig/Hall 8-0.

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