One day after the Dawson County boys tennis team finished their season, the girls team followed on Wednesday, April 20, with an exit in the first round of the Class AAA State Tournament at Westminster.
Head coach Laura Ledbetter and the Lady Tigers traveled down to Buckhead to face the Region 5 champion Wildcats, where the visitors would face their toughest test of the season.
While the results of the evening’s matches did not go in the Lady Tigers’ favor in a 3-0 defeat, Ledbetter remained positive about how the team had progressed through the season to put together a 10-6 record and reach the state tournament.
“I think we had a strong season this year,” Ledbetter said. “We did a lot of work in the off-season, keeping the players' games fresh and ready to go strong in the season.”
That preparation the team had before the season paid off, with all three singles players improving each week and a variety of players vying for a spot in the two main doubles teams.
By the time the region tournament rolled around, the team had shown that they could compete with many teams in the region.
While junior Kayleigh Moon would lead the team and finish the season at No. 1 singles with a 12-4 record, fellow singles players Marlee Gaddis and Blake Smith proved that they too could become forces in the region.
All three helped the Lady Tigers push through the first round of the region tournament without a loss to secure a place in the state tournament.
Smith, along with fellow senior doubles players Kelci Folsom, Sadie Pruitt and Mackenzie Stover, all helped in that effort.
It was through the help of those seniors that the team came together as a whole as the season progressed. Regardless of who played or not on a particular night, the team had a strong bond that eventually earned them the trip to Westminster.
“The seniors were excited to have a strong team this season,” Ledbetter said. “They were motivated at practice because they wanted their last season to be a good one.”
Returning next season for singles will be Moon and Gaddis, with someone new stepping up to take on the No. 3 singles spot. In doubles, Amber Horton, Avery Beaty and Wendy Castro will return.