A season of perfection for the Warren County High School girls tennis team came to the end at the worst possible time.
Needing only one doubles victory in the championship match of the District 6-AAA team tournament, the Lady Pioneers lost both sets and lost a chance at sweeping the district titles in the process. Cookeville won the tournament title with a 4-3 match victory over Warren County, which had won the regular-season title.
The Lady Pioneers went into the match with a perfect 13-0 record, including defeating the Lady Cavaliers earlier in the season for the first time under coach David Dunlap. Warren County couldn’t replicate the magic Tuesday in Cookeville, despite having two chances to seal the deal.
Playing a best-of-seven match, Warren County got one win away by taking three of the five singles matches.
Senior Peyton Baker defeated Sara Ramirez 6-4 and 6-0 for the first Lady Pioneer win. Sophomore Tomomi Yago pushed Warren County in front by battling back to beat Shikha Amin. After losing the first set 6-4, Yago won the second set 6-4 and the final set 7-5.
Cookeville briefly tied the match at 2-2, but District 6-AAA freshman of the year Kendal Smith got the Lady Pioneers within one win of the title. Smith defeated Summer Stroud 6-4 and 6-3 as singles play completed.
Coach Dunlap put his top two doubles teams on the court in hopes of securing the championship, but Cookeville made an impressive comeback.
Baker and fellow senior Susie Brown were beaten 8-2 by Ramirez and Annika Kriskovich, opening the door for the Lady Cavaliers to take the title in the final doubles set.
Yago and freshman Katie Phillips were the Lady Pioneers’ final hope, but Amin and Hannah Lloyd proved to be too much for the Warren County duo. Cookeville pulled ahead 5-2 and weathered a rally by Yago and Phillips to win 8-5.
Coach Dunlap continued to heap praise on his Lady Pioneers, his first championship girls team during his tenure, following the final match.
“The girls played well all season,” said Dunlap. “This group of girls made history with the championship.”
Brown, Baker and Alyssa Homeier will graduate in two weeks, but several Lady Pioneers will return to try and defend the district title next spring.