MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Notre Dame fell just a little bit short.
The Lady Irish tennis team's bid to make it three straight seasons a Hamilton County team has won the Class A/AA team championship was lost in the finals Wednesday, as they fell 4-2 to Christian Academy of Knoxville at the Old Fort courts in Murfreesboro.
Notre Dame (16-2) claimed a 5-4 win over the Lady Warriors on April 3, but it was different the second time around, as CAK (14-5) entered Wednesday's match with a different focus to the match.
"We knew they'd be a tough opponent," Notre Dame assistant coach Gary McIntyre said. "I didn't think we'd be here at the start of the season. You always have dreams and you set goals, but we're in a tough district with Chattanooga Christian and Signal Mountain, and Boyd-Buchanan's a good team. I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish this year."
CAK won the first three completed matches, by Leighton Porter, Allison Ivey and Emily Ann Welles. The Lady Irish stayed in contention and forced doubles with wins by Danika Dorris and Sarah Faith Ingell, but Ivey and Elise DeNicola won at No. 2 doubles to clinch the win.
The Lady Irish lose two seniors: Katie Lamsey and Dorris, the latter of whom played the entire season with a back fracture after an injury March 2 that caused her to wear a brace. The seniors end their career with the 2012 state championship and a runner-up finish.
"CAK was fired up and ready to go today," Dorris said. "We played very well and there's nothing to be ashamed of, because we played very well together. This wasn't the career I thought we'd have when we were freshmen. It was a great four years and we became very close, which makes our play and our success so much more fun.
"I'm going to miss high school tennis, but it's been a fun four years."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.