published Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Irish return to state in tennis

Charles Jabaley found himself slightly irritated in his tennis singles match in Notre Dame's Class A/AA sectional against Collegedale Academy on Friday. But he realized he had no reason to be mad.

His team had won.

The Irish (16-0) claimed a spot in the state Class A/AA final four with a 4-0 win over the Eagles. Jabaley, the Region 4 singles runner-up, was the only player in the top five not to finish his match.

J.R. Davis, Thomas Gaudin, Jay Nguyen and Christian San Miguel won their matches, with San Miguel's win at No. 5 singles clinching the title. Jabaley's No. 1 match against Austin Lee was halted at that point.

"I'm not going to lie. I was a little annoyed," Jabaley said afterward with a laugh. "I was focused on my match, but I really didn't care. Making it to state was our No. 1 goal, and now we're here."

Few outside of the Irish thought before the season that they stood much of a chance to get to the state tournament. More attention was paid to the girls' team, which was coming off a state championship. The Lady Irish run was halted by Chattanooga Christian in the districts, but the boys return to state for the first time since 2010, when they were runners-up.

Collegedale (15-3), the A/AA state runner-up last season, will lose four team members after losing five the year before.

"We had a successful season," Collegedale coach Joe Chung said. "We fought hard, but Notre Dame was just too strong for us today."

• Siegel 4, Ooltewah 2: The Owls pushed it to doubles but lost in their AAA sectional.

Ooltewah (15-1) got wins from Richard Huynh and Braden Lype.

"I'm really proud of the guys," Ooltewah coach Ken Buchanan said. "Usually we get to this point and get shut out, but we fought hard and played really well."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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