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The Titans knew doubles "was a strong point for us," coach Lindy Stetson said.
Friday, May 24, 2013
BLACKSBURG - It was the strength of Abingdon's top-seeded players against the overall depth of Hidden Valley's roster at the Region IV girls tennis final on Thursday.
In the end Hidden Valley's depth eventually wore down the Falcons as the Titans advanced in postseason play with a 5-3 victory at Virginia Tech.
After splitting the six single matches earlier in the day, the Titans dominated in doubles led by their top team of Ceyda Durmaz and Emma Barker.
The Hidden Valley pair avenged earlier losses in the singles with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Emily Henderson and Carrie Lopez.
Top seed Henderson had beaten Durmaz 6-1, 6-1, while No. 2 Lopez was victorious over Barker 7-6, 6-2.
"I think we were more relaxed in doubles and not as tense. That lets you swing more freely," Durmaz said.
The No. 2 doubles team of Abby Dixon and Caroline Hearp clinched the title for the Titans with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Sarah Stallard and Tess McNerlin.
"All year we've known that doubles had to be a strong point for us," Hidden Valley coach Lindy Stetson said. "We knew it would be close today, and they regrouped after singles. Doubles-wise we had a great day today."
Hidden Valley now moves on to host an opponent from Region III in the state semifinals on June 4. The site for those matches has yet to be determined.
Along with the doubles sweep, Hidden Valley picked up wins in singles from No. 3 Dixon, 6-0, 6-4, over Stallard, No. 4 Laura Sowder, 7-5, 6-1, over Olivia Ball and No. 6 Grace Whiteside, who defeated Emily Greear 6-1, 7-5.
Abingdon's third singles' win came from No. 5 seed McNerlin who knocked off Becky Brisley 6-2, 7-5.
The match of the day, though, was between Lopez and Baker. After jumping out to a 4-1 first set lead, Baker saw Lopez rally to force a 6-6 tie. After squeaking through the tiebreaker Lopez was able to pull away in the second set.
"I felt like it was getting away from me in the first set, but the tiebreaker got my confidence back up," Lopez said.
Abingdon's Henderson had a much easier time in her singles contest. At one point in her match with Durmaz she won nine straight games to cruise.
"I had some momentum going, and I think she got a little frustrated," she said.
Thursday's matches were played on one of the warmest days of the season under bright sunshine, which didn't go unnoticed by the players.
"The toughest thing today was the heat," Lopez said. "These courts are so hot."
Emily Henderson (A) d. Ceyda Durmaz, 6-1, 6-1; Carrie Lopez (A) d. Emma Barker, 7-6, 6-2; Abby Dixon (HV) d. Sarah Stallard, 6-0, 6-4; Laura Sowder (HV) d. Olivia Ball, 7-5, 6-1; Tess McNerlin (A) d. Becky Brisley, 6-2, 7-5; Grace Whiteside (HV) d. Emily Greear, 6-1, 7-5.
Durmaz and Baker (HV) d. Henderson and Lopez, 6-2, 6-0; Dixon and Caroline Hearp d. Stallard and McNerlin 6-4, 6-3; Brisley and Brittani Turnmire (HV) led Ball and Josie Canada 7-5, 3-2 susp.
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