In past seasons, Cleveland tennis coach Elizabeth Davis saw the need to continually emphasize to her Lady Raiders never to give up in a match. That hasn’t been as necessary recently, as the experienced players have found the desire to do it themselves.
Saturday was a prime example.
Cleveland defeated East Hamilton 9-0 to win the Power division of the inaugural Chattanooga Big Bang Tournament at the Signal Mountain Town Hall tennis courts, but that sweep included three come-from-behind victories against the Lady Hurricanes.
Signal Mountain took third place in the main division, defeating McMinn County 8-1, while Soddy-Daisy blanked Red Bank 9-0 for fifth place.
McMinn won the boys’ Power title Friday, but East Hamilton took second place by defeating Signal Mountain 5-4.
Cleveland’s Catherine Jordan and Gabby Earby were down 5-2 at No. 1 doubles against East Hamilton but rallied to win 7-5 in a tiebreaker. The same held true for Abigail Louderback and Michelle Morris, who were down 6-3 before winning the final five games at No. 3 doubles.
Taylor Wickman also claimed a 7-5 victory at No. 5 singles, coming back from being down 4-1.
Davis praised Wickman’s play, as the freshman went 6-0 in the tournament, playing No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles. The coach also praised the overall team play, especially the comeback capabilities.
“I don’t have to stress it as much as I used to; the seniors’ maturity has taken over,” Davis said. “We’re older up top with three seniors but have two freshman and a junior in our top six.
“I just thought we did a wonderful job of coming back.”
East Hamilton coach Shelley Williams — a 2006 Cleveland graduate who played and coached under Davis — was pleased with the overall play of her team.
“I thought it was a great match for us,” Williams said. “We hadn’t been challenged yet, and I thought that played a factor in our inability to finish certain matches.
“I thought my girls did a good job, though, and I hope they learn from this.”