MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Coach Kevin Donovan didn't need many words to describe the impact of the Baylor boys' loss in the TSSAA Division II-AA state championship match Wednesday at the Adams Tennis Complex.
"This one's going to hurt for a while," he said.
For the second straight year, Baylor lost 4-2 to Montgomery Bell Academy with the title on the line. The Red Raiders won state in 2016 for their 15th title overall but first since 1997. Now they'll have to wait a year to make another bid.
Baylor had scratched and clawed its way to Murfreesboro, defeating rival McCallie 4-3 in the season finale three weeks after falling 5-2 to the Blue Tornado. Injuries to key players had forced adjustments to the lineup.
Yet there Baylor was Wednesday, having defeated Memphis University School 4-2 in Tuesday's semifinals. And there Baylor was again, taking a 1-0 lead on MBA on the strength of a pair of doubles wins for the team point.
But that's where the fairy tale ended for the Red Raiders. MBA took the title by winning four of the five singles matches that ended up being completed.
"We knew we'd have to win doubles because they're so tough one through six," Donovan said. "We put a lot into it; the coaching staff, the players. We were not supposed to be here, but these kids gave it everything they had.
"I'm sorry for the seniors because they worked so hard. We have a young team. We're going to have to rebuild a little bit, but the guys are buying into a lot of the stuff we're selling as a coaching staff, so we'll be back."
Benjamin Taverne won in singles for Baylor and teamed with Felipe Frietas for a win in doubles, where Ethan Burgan and Matthew Huinker also won.
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