Local high schools compete in tennis matches at Duncan Park

Published 12:03 am Friday, April 10, 2015

Adams County Christian School’s Julianna Wallace hits the ball past Trinity Episcopal’s Alli Smith to win a point during their match Thursday at Duncan Park. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Christian School’s Julianna Wallace hits the ball past Trinity Episcopal’s Alli Smith to win a point during their match Thursday at Duncan Park. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Tennis matches took over the Miss-Lou Thursday, as the Cathedral High School tennis team qualified for state, and Trinity Episcopal Day School waged battle in a match against Adams County Christian School.

Before Trinity defeated ACCS 5-4 at Trinity, Cathedral punched multiple tickets to state for singles and doubles competitors by winning a district tournament at Duncan Park. Dominant set and match victories were the storylines of the day, including singles victories from both Mark Iles and Grace Anne White in less than 30 minutes.

“I wasn’t feeling like I was missing too much today,” said Iles who defeated Piney Woods’ Naol Eba in 19 minutes. “I just happened to look at my phone before I played and noticed only 19 minutes had passed when we finished. It was definitely the quickest match I’ve played.”

White swept Bogue Chitto’s Summer Martin with 6-0 set wins, joining her teammates in qualifying for state.

“It’s really exciting for all of us to travel as a team and participate at state,” White said. “It’s fun to watch everyone as a team and root them on.”

R.J. Givens and Evan Webber started the nearly perfect day off for Cathedral with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Piney Woods’ Ammanuel Kassaye and Anayia Seyouth. Will Wallace and Will Sandel followed suit, defeating Dagim Demake and Naol Debele 6-0 and 6-2 in two sets, sending both Cathedral boys doubles to state.

The girls picked up where the boys left off, as Paige Foster and Emma Hogue defeated Bezawit Petene and Rute Tilahun of Piney Woods 6-1 and 6-0 to advance. Abby Massey and Anna Claire Ryan also qualified for the Green Wave by beating Lauren McCuffrey and Makeina Smith of Bogue Chitto with 6-0 sets.

Cathedral’s mixed doubles Silas Whitaker and Natalie Fletcher capped off the day with two more 6-0 set wins, beating Bogue Chitto’s Karlie Williams and Will Fauver.

“To perform like this today and qualify for state is great for Cathedral tennis,” Cathedral tennis coach Beth Foster said.

While Cathedral made quick work of its opponents in the district tournament, ACCS and Trinity traded matches for the better part of three hours. One match in particular — a back-and-forth, action-packed hour-and-a-half No. 1 girls doubles match — saw ACCS rally from a 6-1 set to taking the second set 7-5, forcing a tiebreaker. Caitlyn Gamberi and Kaci Guedon represented the Rebels, while Lucy Pyron and Tali Beard donned the Trinity red.

Pyron said frustration played more of a factor than fatigue in the second set.

“I wasn’t tired, I just couldn’t hit it,” Pyron said. “It kept hitting the net, and it was getting frustrating.”

Gamberi and Guedon took a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, and Pyron and Beard had to reset.

“When they started getting the better of us at the net, we backed up and refocused,” Beard said.

Pyron and Beard went on to win the set 10-7, clinching the match for Trinity.