By Beth Cox
There is a quote in tennis, “Love is nothing in tennis, but in life, it’s everything.” The love for the JCHS girls’ tennis team was well demonstrated Thursday afternoon at JCHS by the large number of fans that came out to cheer the Lady Longhorns to victory against Gatlinburg Pittman.
The Lady Longhorns fought hard, but the Gatlinburg Pittman Highlanders just had too much experience for the first-time regional champions.
District Player of the Year, Taylor Cox had the top spot of the sub-state competition and started the event off by dominating her opponent with a two-set win (6-4) (6-3).
No. 2, Olivia Cox’s opponent had a pretty good lob-net game and kept Cox moving; eventually, the Highlander went on to win, (6-3) (6-4).
No. 3 Taylor Parsons and No. 4 Margaret Morrow would be worthy competitors in singles action but could not take control of the match, both losing their matches in two sets.
No. 5, Rhiannon Icenhour approached her match with the Lady Longhorns already at a (1-3) disadvantage so the outcome of her game would determine if the girls continued to play.
Understandably, the pressure of what was at stake weighed heavily on the sophomore. Icenhour would not gain much ground in the first set, which led to a 2-6 defeat. The second set did not start well for the Lady Longhorn, down 1-2, but the netter had something to prove. She wasn’t going down without a fight and caught up with her opponent (5-5).
However, as in the previous matches before, the strategic game plan of the Highlander would be too much for the JCHS tennis player, so Gatlinburg Pittman got its fourth win and became the sub-state champion allowing the team to advance to the state playoffs.
Icenhour may have lost her match, but thanks to her never-give-up attitude, she gained the respect of her competitors.
The Lady Longhorns ambition of going all the way to state may have come to an end last Thursday afternoon.
But, the girls exuded qualities of a champion throughout the whole season and will be able to accomplish even more next year with all players returning except for senior Margaret Morrow.