Not many similarities can be drawn from the Notre Dame and Dalton tennis teams. They play in different states and use different formats, and while the Irish season is just beginning, the Catamounts are closing in on their region tournament.
Yet in the schools’ match Thursday, the Lady Irish and Catamounts used the same path to victory.
Dalton’s boys and Notre Dame’s girls each won four singles matches and two doubles contests in claiming 6-3 victories in cool afternoon weather at the Champions Club.
Although Georgia schools play a 3-singles, 2-doubles format, with no player allowed to play both, Dalton coach David Hilley was pleased with the opportunity to use extra players in Tennessee’s 6-singles, 3-doubles style.
“I was able to play some kids that usually don’t get that opportunity,” Hilley said. “Some of our doubles teams got some different looks, and it was good we had some kids get a chance to play.”
The Dalton boys, ranked fourth in the latest Georgia Class AAA poll, got wins from Price Puryear, Nathan Bryant, B.J. Rowland and Sam Dyer in singles and had victories at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. Class A/AA defending state champion John Dorris of Notre Dame won his No. 1 singles’ match, then teamed with Nick Wurm to win No. 1 doubles.
Thomas Gaudin had the other victory for Notre Dame, who was the A/AA state runner-up last season.
“That’s one reason we put this match on our schedule,” Notre Dame coach Anne Ricksecker said. “We wanted our guys to keep working as hard as they did last year to improve as the season went along.”
Katie Joyce, Mimi Haywood, Allyson Ross and Damika Dorris had singles wins for the Lady Irish. Joyce also teamed with Callie Voges for a win, while Haywood and Dorris combined for the other. Dalton’s Rachel Bakker accounted for two of her team’s wins, with victories at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles.
“This was a good early-season experience for us,” Ricksecker said. “We’re building our girls’ team, and this was a good win for them.”