DALTON, Ga. - The Dalton High School girls' tennis team celebrated its win in the Georgia Class AAAA state second round Monday with a phone call. The Lady Catamounts all huddled around assistant coach Jim Case's phone, and when head coach David Hilley answered, they all yelled "We Won!!" in unison.
The Lady Catamounts' 3-1 victory over Carrollton propelled them to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. Dalton (16-3) will face Marist on Friday at a site to be determined, as the two schools will have a coin flip to see who hosts.
"It's a wonderful feeling. I'm blessed to be with fantastic teammates," senior Kara Pendley said. "I wish [Coach] Hilley could have been here because he brought us to our first region championship."
Hilley left Case in charge of the girls and traveled with the boys' team to Madison County for their second-round match Monday afternoon. What he missed was a doubles sweep and a victory by sophomore Anna Grace Wilson to defeat the Lady Trojans, who had been a thorn in Dalton's side when the two were in the same region until this season.
"It's awesome and I'm excited, because we've never been this far since I started playing for Dalton," said senior Sheridan Fromm, who plays No. 1 doubles. "When I played against Carrollton last year, things didn't go so well, so it was nice to get revenge."
Carrollton defeated Dalton 5-0 in a region match last season. After Kat Burger at No. 1 singles earned the Lady Trojans' lone point Monday, Fromm and Mackenzie Creswell tied the match with a 6-4, 7-5 win, and then Rachel Bakker and Caroline Calfee claimed a win at No. 2 doubles.
Wilson was three points away from victory when Pendley suffered a nasty fall in her No. 2 singles match. There was a brief break to tend to Pendley, but Wilson was able to recompose herself and get the clinching win.
"There was a lot of adrenaline out there with everyone watching, but it was a little nerve-racking," Wilson said. "I'm excited and blessed to be a part of this team."
The Dalton boys lost 3-2 to Madison County (20-3) in a match that came down to a 2 1/2-hour battle at No. 3 singles. The Catamounts (15-4) won both doubles matchups but lost in straight sets at Nos. 1 and 2 singles before Shazman Ali fell 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 after leading 4-3 in the third set.