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Huntington coach Charlie Lane presents trophies to the FDA girls tennis team.  Members include (from left to right) Mary Claire Carlton, Anna Wright, Madison Ann Gaston, Ashton Scott,  Marion Lightfoot, Sara Elizabeth Owens and Jennifer Grace Arnold.
Huntington coach Charlie Lane presents trophies to the FDA girls tennis team. Members include (from left to right) Mary Claire Carlton, Anna Wright, Madison Ann Gaston, Ashton Scott, Marion Lightfoot, Sara Elizabeth Owens and Jennifer Grace Arnold.

Archived Story

FDA girls tennis team finish runner-up at state tourney

Published 5:03pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fort Dale Academy girls tennis team finished as runners-up at the AISA state tennis tournament Monday in a competition that came down to the wire.

In addition, Mary Claire Carlton is the #3 seed state champion, and Marion Lightfoot is the #2 seed state runner-up, and the pair of Carlton and Lightfoot are the #2 seed doubles state champions.

It was the no. 2 seed doubles matchup between Fort Dale Academy’s duo of Carlton and Lightfoot and Glenwood Academy that propelled Fort Dale to the second-place finish.

Fort Dale Academy head coach Elizabeth Matthews said that the competition could’ve gone in any of three different ways.

“It was a three-set match and our doubles team won the first set, lost the second set and won the third set in straight games,” Matthews said.

It was an exciting finish for us, and that one thing earned us a runner-up position at state.

Tuscaloosa Academy took home the first-place finish by a one-point margin over Fort Dale Academy, who in turn edged out Glenwood by one point as well.

And though Carlton and Lightfoot’s efforts were pivotal in securing the trophy, it was ultimately a team effort comprising the top five players, including no. 1 seed Ashton Scott, no. 4 seed Madison Ann Gaston and no. 5 seed Jennifer Grace Arnold.

“It’s about how they do individually in singles and doubles, but also in the way that they practice together and they way that they play together,” Matthews added.

“They all motivate each other to get better.”

And the future is certainly bright for a young FDA team, as all of the top five girls will return to play next year.

But Matthews and her players aren’t in any rush to set foot on another tennis court just yet.

“Well, I think we’re all ready for a break,” Matthews said laughingly.

“But I hope all players will continue to work on their tennis games throughout the year, and then we’ll get back started with Fort Dale tennis again next January.”

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