Natchez tennis team thrilled with Tri-State championship

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Vindicated. Excited. A sense of relief. That’s how members of the Natchez Dickens 6.5 Women’s Doubles Tennis Team said they felt after winning the Tri-State Tournament last weekend at City Park in New Orleans.

Last year the team made it all the way to the finals before losing to Arkansas. This year, the team made sure no one got in its way of reaching its goal.

Oddly enough, the first match of the tournament for the Dickens Team was against the No. 2 Arkansas team, which had many of its players back from last year’s championship team.

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It didn’t matter, though, as the hometown team won 3-0.

Margaret Cooley, who has been on the team since 1998, said that team was the toughest one they faced in the tournament.

&uot;They had a couple of changes, but they were pretty tough,&uot; she said. &uot;It was nip and tuck.&uot;

&uot;I was pretty much the same team, but we beat them,&uot; said Brenda Johnson.

However, the majority of the players said the Arkansas No. 1 team was the toughest of the four team they faced. The Natchez Dickens team won the match 2-1.

&uot;All the matches were tough,&uot; said Debra Bassi.

&uot;We always believed the Arkansas No. 1 team was going to be our toughest battle,&uot; said Emily Eidt.

Eidt then went on to say another team – the Louisiana No. 1 team – gave them a tough match. The Natchez team won that match 2-1.

&uot;Both were undefeated when we played them,&uot; she said.

&uot;They (Arkansas No. 2) were not the best team down there,&uot; said Karen Partridge. &uot;Arkansas No. 1 was the strongest team.&uot;

Captain Pat Dickens said the Arkansas No. 1 team was the toughest team her team faced because of the talent and depth.

&uot;They were very athletic and well-conditioned,&uot; she said.

The players said they were excited and happy to win the tournament.

The Natchez Dickens team defeated the Mississippi No. 2 team from Hattiesburg – the same team it beat to win back-to-back State Championships – 3-0 to go undefeated and win the tournament.

&uot;We didn’t have as tough a time as I thought we would against them,&uot; Eidt said.

&uot;We were the only undefeated team and we won outright.&uot; Bassi said. &uot;Going back and winning was great. We all good friends. Winning just tops it all off. We didn’t need a manual recount.&uot;

&uot;I was absolutely delighted,&uot; Dickens said. &uot;When we came back from Little Rock last year, we said we’re going back and win. I think we expected to win. We had three years to build a championship team.&uot;

&uot;We all played well,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;We played 12 courts and lost only two. But we won every match.&uot;

Partridge said she, like everyone else, was excited to win. &uot;We worked very hard. We came very close last year and it was great to win it this year.&uot;