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Taking out the champs
Lady Pioneers beat Cookeville
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There seemed to be only one certainty in District 6-AAA girls tennis the last four years. The Cookeville Lady Cavaliers were the best and everybody else played for second. The Warren County High School Lady Pioneers proved there are no certainties in sports Tuesday.
Warren County took over the top spot in the District 6-AAA standings by handing Cookeville its first district loss in four years. The Lady Pioneers won the match 5-4, improving to 6-0 this season.
The Lady Pioneers had started the season hot, winning five straight matches, but most assumed Cookeville would bring that streak to an end. With its own winning streak on the line, which dates back to when the current five-team District 6-AAA was set up in 2010, the Lady Cavaliers were the team to beat.
By starring in singles, Warren County handed the Lady Cavaliers their first loss. Seniors Susie Brown and Peyton Baker and freshmen Katie Phillips and Kendal Smith all won their singles matches that led to a Lady Pioneer victory.
Phillips teamed with sophomore Tomomi Yago to earn the Lady Pioneers’ first victory in No. 2 doubles. Phillips and Yago beat Sara and Andrea Ramirez 8-3, but Warren County trailed 2-1 entering singles play as Cookeville won the other two doubles sets.
Brown and Baker quickly gave Warren County the lead, sweeping the top two singles sets. Brown improved to 6-0 this season in singles by beating Annika Kriskovich 8-6. Baker followed with an 8-4 victory over Sara Ramirez.
Cookeville evened the match at 3-3 when Shikha Amin beat Yago 8-3, adding tension to the final three singles sets.
Knowing the fate of the match rested on two freshmen and sophomore Allison Brock, the Lady Pioneers rallied around their young teammates.
Smith made quick work of Madison Hill, winning 8-2. Cookeville countered with Summer Stroud beating Brock 8-3.
All eyes turned to the set between Phillips and Hannah Lloyd as the winner would give their team the overall victory. The set went back and forth, but Phillips finally gained the upper hand and served her way to an 8-6 victory.
Coach David Dunlap could hardly contain his excitement, as it was the first victory for the Lady Pioneers over Cookeville in his tenure as head coach.
“History was made in Cookeville Tuesday,” said Dunlap. “It was the first time we have beaten them and it makes us No. 1 in the district.”
The Lady Pioneers will be looking to keep the top spot in District 6-AAA Monday when the team returns to action against Cumberland County. The match at McMinnville Civic Center is set to start at 3:30 p.m.