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Cabell schools fare well at state tennis tournament

May. 11, 2008 @ 12:22 AM

CHARLESTON -- On championship Saturday at the West Virginia State Tennis Tournament, both Huntington and Cabell Midland left the Kanawha City Community Center Tennis Courts with something to celebrate.

Huntington's Ross Evans and Darius Hadi led the Huntington boys to a second-place finish after winning a state title at No. 1 doubles and Cabell Midland's Bethany Law won a title at No. 2 singles following a straight-set win. On the girls' side, Huntington and Cabell Midland finished tied for third with nine points.

Evans and Hadi had the revenge factor working in their favor and used it early and often to knock off George Washington's Chris Pratt and Cameron Harmon, 6-1, 6-3. Pratt had defeated Evans in the singles' semifinals, so Evans was happy with his Saturday outcome.

"I came in wanting to do everything I can to win the match for us," Evans said. "After losing singles, it adds a little bit of revenge to that."

For Evans and Hadi, both players get to play to their forehand side, a rarity for doubles partners. Hadi said that they are a natural fit for the doubles court.

"You've got a righty and a lefty together, forehand on forehand," Hadi said. "You've also got a tall person at the net and a short person with a serve. That's all you need."

To win a state title though takes more. It takes a group playing its best tennis during the postseason. Huntington boys coach Bruce Senior said that's exactly what he got out of his doubles' tandem.

"It was the best they've played all year. Ross was a man at the net," Senior said. "For my first state champions, I couldn't ask for a better pair."

The Huntington duo celebrated along with Law, whose journey back from a preseason injury was completed with Saturday's 6-4, 6-3 win over Jefferson's Christina Hammond.

The match held tight early with Hammond holding a 4-3 advantage in the first set, but Law came back and won the final three games to capture the first set.

Law, who made the championship match at No. 1 singles in 2007, seized the momentum from her first-set triumph and methodically forced Hammond into several unforced errors to take the title.

"It's a relief. I feel like I proved myself today," Law said. "I just wanted to take advantage of being in the same spot again as last year. You have to go out and play every match like it's your best."

Law's win concluded a highly-successful week for the Knights, who finished tied with Huntington for third with nine points despite only having two girls -- Law and Stephanie Fox -- in the state tournament.

Law and Fox combined to finish 6-1 in seven singles matches. Fox fell in the No. 1 singles final to Parkersburg's Alex Bush 6-0, 6-2 in one of the day's first matches.

Huntington's girls had strong showings throughout the week with finalists at the No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles positions. Sarah Cummings fell in No. 3 singles to George Washington's Cathy Liu, 6-1, 6-3 and the duo of Cummings and Allie Steel fell to Parkersburg's Lakin Whitlatch and Goldie Preston 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.

Parkersburg's doubles win over Cummings and Steel clinched the girls' team title for the Big Reds, who tied George Washington with 13 points, but won the tiebreaker based on competitors in the championship round.

George Washington ran away with the boys' title with 16 points, eight ahead of Huntington.

In Class AA/A, Charleston Catholic swept the boys' and girls' team titles. Huntington St. Joseph's boys finished with four points, tying for fourth with Logan and Petersburg.

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