Nation Ford's tennis team had a successful regular season and entered the playoffs expecting to advance a long way and compete for the state title. Each member of the team who competed in varsity matches finished the year with a winning record and the Falcons have come a long way since last season.
The progress made by the second- year team is something the girls can fall back on in the aftermath of their second round 5-1 playoff loss to top-seeded Wren last week. The Falcons had earned a second seed in the bracket.In just two seasons, Nation Ford has become a contender for the state title and has many good years ahead. The team is led by eighth grader Ashley Trull and a group of talented underclassmen."I was telling the girls that we have come such a long way from their first practice before the 2007 season when we had 10 girls show up without any of them ever playing a high school tennis match before," Falcons head coach Matthew Rohring said.Last Tuesday, the Falcons opened up the playoffs in impressive fashion, taking down Rock Hill 6-1. Nation Ford defeated the Bearcats earlier in the season by the same score.Ashley Trull was defeated by Catherine White in the number one singles match, but the two games were tightly contested. White was able to pull away in the end and won 6-4, 7-5.Rylee Smith defeated Natalie Black 6-1, 6-0 and Melanie Mullen was victorious against Addie Brown 6-0, 6-3. Sarah Tourville made short work of Barron Hicklin in the number four singles match 6-2, 6-0 and Chelsea Jasper took out Sarah Hicklin 6-1, 6-1.The number two doubles team of Morgan Jasper and Jordan Bowers, which lost only one match all season, beat Elizabeth Hupp and Brooke Neely 6-1, 6-0.The Falcons traveled to Wren Friday. Wren defeated Byrnes 6-0 in their opening round match.Top seed Trull lost to Katherine Lee 6-0, 6-1; Smith was defeated by Kerry Cotter 6-0, 6-2 and Mullen lost to Ashton Lee 6-1, 6-0.Tourville extended Marin Cotter to three sets, but was defeated 6-2, 4-6, and 10-5. Chelsea Jasper lost to Alexa Wardowe 6-0, 6-0.Jasper and Bowers won their doubles match against Devyn McDowell and Tori Hughes 6-2, 6-3."Our second doubles team improved their record 16-1 overall this season with an impressive straight set victory," Rohring said.Rohring is pleased with how far his team has come in just two seasons."It's pretty impressive to see that we made it all the way to being in the top 16 teams left in the state playoff tournament bracket," he said. "We don't lose anyone next year either, so who knows how far we can go."