When it came down to deciding the outcome of Monday night’s Piedmont District Tennis Tournament, Halifax County High School’s fortunes rested on the shoulders of a pair of sophomores.
Sarah Lacks and Maelyn Edwards survived a near two-hour grind against Bassett High School’s Naomi Hairston and Ashley Minnick in the number three doubles contest, winning a tiebreaker 10-6 to give Halifax County High School a 5-4 win over the Bengals and its first Piedmont District girls tennis championship.
“It’s amazing, it’s crazy,” Lacks said after the emotionally draining win.
“There was a lot of pressure. The people (the many fans that surrounded the court) made it worse. Maelyn had a panic attack on the court. It was just crazy.”
“It feels amazing,” Edwards said.
“It feels really good to win. We really didn’t keep our composure. I was scared. There were a lot of people watching.”
Comets head coach Donna Hudson echoed the players’ sentiment.
“It’s really exciting,” Hudson said with a big smile.”
“We’ve had good teams before. We’ve gotten better every year and pushed, and to have it jell together this time is unbelievable.”
Hudson said she had confidence in her team, but admitted she was nervous heading into the match.
“I’ve been a nervous wreck all day,” she said.
“The girls played hard, they focused, they pushed and they won. It’s amazing.”
Halifax County High School had a 4-2 lead after the six singles contests with Kendall Foushee and Rose Ruotolo-Sarnataro at the number one and number two spots respectively, and Edwards and Amanda Duffer at the number five and number six spots respectively posting wins.
Hudson said she felt good about the team’s chances heading into the three doubles matches, especially with the chances of Lacks and Edwards in the number three doubles contest.
“Our number three doubles is usually much stronger than other teams’ number three doubles,” Hudson noted.
“When we went into the doubles needing only win, we thought it was a piece of cake because our number three doubles is strong. They are undefeated for the season, so we had great confidence.
“Then they slipped, and they slipped and they traded points, and they traded points. I did not think it would come to that. We tried to find a court (among the three doubles matches) that was winning, and it was difficult to do because everything was so close.”
The Comets number one and number two doubles teams lost, allowing Bassett High School to tie the overall contest 4-4. Then, it came down to the fortunes of Lacks and Edwards in the last match.
Fortunately for the Comets, they survived by winning the tiebreaker.
“To hold your cool in a tiebreaker is difficult,” Hudson said.
“I’m proud of the girls. I’m proud of this team.”
HALIFAX COUNTY 5 BASSETT HIGH SCHOOL 4
Kendall Foushee (HC) def. Jessica Beam 7-7 TB 7-3, 7-5
Rose Ruotolo-Sarnataro (HC) def. Carlee Cockran 6-3 6-3
Megan Scott (B) def. Ellie Hall 6-2, 6-1
Cara Helbert (B) def. Blair Cole 6-1,6-4
Maelyn Edwards (HC) def. Abi Craig 6-1 6-3
Amanda Duffer (HC) def. Rya Hall 6-4 6-1
Beam/Scott (B) def. Foushee/Hall 8-2
Cockran/Helbert (B) def. Ruotolo-Sarnataro/Cole 8-6
Edwards/Sarah Lacks defeated Naomi Hairston/Ashley Minnick 8-8, TB 10-6
Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.