Eagle girls win second straight tennis title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2006

MONTGOMERY - After winning the Alabama Independent Schools Association girls state tennis championships last year, head coach Johnny Mack Brown set his sights on winning four in a row. Well, after year two, he and his Lady Eagles are halfway there after winning their second state title Tuesday, splitting the championship with Lee-Scott Academy. Both teams ended up with 16 points each.

&#8220It's an unusual feeling that I've never had before, but I'll take it,” said a smiling Brown after the trophy presentation. &#8220We had so many chances to win it outright.”

Lee-Scott and Fort Dale battled in several head-to-head matches over the two-day tournament at Lagoon Park and in the end it came down the girl's doubles matches for the outright title. Lee-Scott had to win both doubles matches to split the title and they pulled it off winning 6-4, 6-3 over Tuscaloosa Academy in the girl's number one match and beating the Lady Eagles' team of Kayla Butts and Elizabeth Dunklin 6-3, 6-2 in the girls' number two match.

&#8220They did what they had to do to win,” said Lee-Scott head coach Kathy Barrett, who is in her second year of coaching the Lady Warriors. Fort Dale has a fantastic tennis program and they're always strong.”

Brown said it was obvious Lee-Scott and Fort Dale were the two strongest girls teams on the court.

&#8220We only lost one set to another team, so these teams were definitely the best teams out here,” he said.

For FDA, in girl's no. two singles play, Whitney Jacks won the state title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Morgan's Carrie Glover. In girl's no. three play, Kayla Butts lost in the final match 6-2, 7-5 to Lee-Scott's Austill Barrett. In girl's no. four play, Elizabeth Dunklin won the title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Lee-Scott's Amory Scott.

In girl's no. five play Renee Scott was a 6-1, 6-0 winner of Springwood's Hannah Smith. Fort Dale's no. one singles team of Janie Mullins and Whitney Jacks dropped their second round match to Tuscaloosa's team of Hannah Notaro and Sina Kuhn 7-5, 7-5.

Next year's version of the Lady Eagles should contend again for the state title, especially with Lee-Scott graduating three seniors and Fort Dale bringing back four girls who were freshmen this year.

After cruising through her early matches 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-2, Fort Dale's lone senior, Janie Mullins, lost her number one singles championship match to Lee-Scott's Hannah Fisher 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, but said the second straight team championship is great, even if they have to share the title with the Warriors.

&#8220I can't complain,” said the soft spoken Mullins. &#8220It feels really great, but it would feel better if we would have won it outright.”

Mullins said during her years playing competitive tennis for the Lady Eagles that effort was what mattered most.

&#8220I always thought to myself to play my best and no matter whether I won or lost, the outcome wouldn't matter,” she said.

And her advice to those returning to try from three in a row?

&#8220Give it your all and even if you start losing, fight back.”