published Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Lady Raiders win Big Bang

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.”

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