By MARY BETH DEVER, Special To The Bulletin | Published June 7, 2007
Tennis is usually one of two high school sports, the other being golf, where fans are quiet and reserved. But when Blessed Trinity’s girl tennis team took to their home courts on May 14, the fans, while quiet, were not reserved. The BT fans wanted another state championship to place alongside the trophy won by the girls soccer team just two days prior and the other two won during the fall.
The match between the Blessed Trinity Lady Titans and the Dunwoody Lady Wildcats started on Saturday afternoon, but storms halted play and the state final was moved from Clayton International Park in Jonesboro to Blessed Trinity’s courts in Roswell to finish. Moving the state tournament to BT meant that the high school would be hosting two state championships in as many days; Saturday’s soccer game was the first-ever state championship game held at the seven-year-old school.
According to BT head varsity girls’ tennis coach, Melissa McCarty, although the girls were disappointed that they didn’t get to come to the school’s spring sport banquet as state champs, they were excited to be able to play in front of a home crowd. “They were definitely a little nervous, but I think they were excited more than anything. Tennis doesn’t usually draw big crowds, so to have the opportunity for their families and peers to see what great players they are was definitely a thrill for them,” she said. With the school year winding down and an afternoon match scheduled, numerous teachers and students were able to see the championship match.
“It really was a unique opportunity for the student body to show support for the tennis team,” said BT athletic director Ricky Turner. “We had students, teachers, administrators, parents and even alumni attending. There were so many fans, we had an overflow of students on the soccer bleachers looking over onto the tennis courts. And they couldn’t have seen a more exciting state championship.”
Blessed Trinity took an early lead by winning two singles matches, but they dropped a doubles match to Dunwoody. BT’s second doubles team then went on to win a close first set 6-4 when the third singles match took the court. Because the doubles had the lead and were further along in the match, most of the attention was on them. The doubles second set continued to be just as close as the first and in the meantime, BT singles player Amanda Barnes took the court with authority and quickly won the first set 6-1. She continued to play with dominance and quickly finished the second set 6-0, just as the doubles were switching sides with a 4-2 lead in the second set tie-breaker, giving the Titans victories in all three singles matches and the state championship.
To end the season with a state championship, according to McCarty, was one more highlight in a year when the Lady Titans went 20-3 and were named Region 5-AAA champs.
“The entire season was one big highlight. We had fun at every match and the girls really pulled together as a team all season long, which is why they did so well,” she said. “And to beat Westminster twice in one season was probably the biggest thrill next to winning state.”
The 2007 state championship tennis team includes Natalie Allard, Amanda Barnes, Lauren Dempsey, Natalia Fernandez, Rachel Hampton, Loren Ramsey, Elizabeth Sims, Mary Claire Slade, Colleen Storey and Ali Woodbury.