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Lady Comets fall to Jefferson Forest in tennis scrimmage

South Boston News
Kassiby Irby serves during scrimmage action against Jefferson Forest Thursday. (Victor Newman photo) / March 12, 2018
The Halifax County High School girls’ tennis team fell 5-4 to Jefferson Forest Friday in preseason scrimmage action.

“While most people were cuddled up with a blanket inside Friday night, we traveled to Forest to play Jefferson Forest High School in a scrimmage match in 40 degree weather,” said Comet coach Donna Hudson.

JF plays doubles first, 8 game pro sets, no ad - a very different set up from the Piedmont District.

“At 1 doubles, Kassidy Irby and Kendall Foushee, our 1 and 2 seeds, took on the 1 and 4 from JF, Lauran Pascadle and Patty Azcorra. Kassidy and Kendall played aggressively, but were forced into defensive play by the powerful placement and intentional force of Pascadle. They had strong first serves, and their movement, both as individuals and as a team, was great. They fought hard against a strong team, but lost 6-8. Kassidy and Kendall are both in great shape to start a season. They are hitting with topspin, their serves are strong, they are fast, aggressive, and strategic,” said Hudson.

“At 2 doubles, we looked a bit less prepared. Dejah Britton and Ashley Collins, our 3 and 4 seeds, had their work cut out for them against a strong 2 and 3 partnership from JF. We had a bit of opening games jitters, which will hopefully disappear as we move into next weeks district openers. Dejah and Ashley stayed focused, but could not handle this duo. They lost 0-8,” said Hudson.

“At 3 doubles, we had Yasmine Ferrell and Ashley Day partnered against the JF 5 and 6. Both our girls are seniors and are experienced players, and the JF bench just wasn’t strong enough at the bottom to give us any trouble. Ferrell and Day took full advantage of this and won easily 8-0. It’s a little unusual to have such strength at 5 and 6, and we are fortunate to be in that position. We expect continued strength there,” said Hudson.


“Yasmine Ferrell, at 5, and Ashley Day, playing 6, easily took wins over their opponents. Both girls had good serves, good placement, and solid ground strokes. Both won 8-0,” said Hudson.

“At 4, Ashley Collins struggled. She simply could not find her rhythm today. She has hit strongly against some heavy hitters in practices, and has worked determinedly to earn her 4th spot in the ladder. We look for her to quickly put this game behind her mentally and return to her strength next week . She lost to a pretty strong opponent 0-8.

“Dejah Britton did a good job in her first time playing at 3. She started out pretty shakey, getting behind 1-4 before she got herself in the game. Once she started moving her feet to get in position for returns, her game improved and she made a tremendous come-back. She ended up losing 5-8, but mentally this was a good game for Dejah. Her opponent was experience and confident, and Dejah will be a better player next week after this loss.

“Kendall Foushee provided a very bright spot for us in singles, taking a win at 2 with strategic placement and good movement. Kendall is a very mental player, identifying weaknesses and making her mind up to capitalize on them. Her serve is on target, and her aggressiveness is right where we want it to be. She is a force to be reckoned with at our 2 spot. Her match had to be called due to darkness (no lights at JF), but she was at 7-5 with the momentum in her favor. She had taken control early in the match and was holding her very strong opponent in a defensive position. Kendall had a great game, and that momentum will be a great point for her to start district competition next week.

“Kassidy Irby, at the 1 spot, had the pleasure of battling JF’s most formidable player, and Kassidy provided a real challenge for her. The two battled ferociously in a fast paced, hard hitting match.

“Pascadle put Kassidy on the run, but Kassidy hung with her, never giving up and often coming up with the unexpected returns. This was a great game to watch. Kassidy’s first serve was impressive, and her movement on court was a joy to watch. It was encouraging to see Kassidy playing so well at this level of tennis this early in the season. The final score was 4-8, a loss in the score book, but a good experience for Kassidy,” said Hudson.

“One factor playing to our advantage this year is that we do have a handful of strong players vying for playing time. We expect a continuum of challenges for ladder positions. We are pretty set at the top with Kassidy and Kendall, but for positions 3, 4, 5, and 6 there are at least 7 players who could be competitive in any one of those four spots. We have 9th graders Rosa Ruotolo-Sarnataro, Ellie Hall and Blair Cole, three players who moved up from JV to Varsity this season, who will continually be competing for playing time. Rose has already pushed her way into the Number 6 seed, but was out sick this week and couldn’t go to the game. Any of those girls could play competitively in the 4, 5, or 6 spots against most teams. Our ladder is likely to change weekly as the girls challenge for position. We also have three other players who moved up from JV this year who are becoming more competitive daily. We expect Courtney Craig, Maelyn Edwards, and Morgan Epperson to continue to develop their game. All these girls are working hard at practices and we know that will pay off,” said Hudson.

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