State champions

Published 11:00 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

The Fort Dale varsity girls’ tennis team capped off an undefeated season with a state championship in the AISA state tennis tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery on Monday and Tuesday.

“We’ve been practicing since mid-February, right after basketball ended,” said head coach Elizabeth Matthews. “All the hard work paid off.”

The Eagles won either the state championship or runner-up spot for seeds one through five.

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Leading the charge was Lauren Poole, who won the state championship for the No. 1 seed and finished the season with an 11-1 record.

“Lauren beat a girl from Lee-Scott who has never lost an AISA singles match,” Matthews said. “That was a big win for us.”

Winning a state championship at the No. 3 seed was Anne Matthews, who went 12-0 for the season.

Taylor Autrey won the state championship for the No. 4 seed spot and ended the year 12-0.

Elizabeth and Caroline Dunklin were state runners-up for the No. 2 and No. 5 seeds, respectively.

Elizabeth ended the regular season 11-1 and Caroline went 12-0 in the regular season.

Poole and Elizabeth Dunklin also won the title of runner-up for the No. 1 doubles seed, while Anne Matthews and Taylor Autrey won the runner-up title in the No. 2 seed.

In a state tennis tournament, the schools compete both as individuals and as a team.

Individual players have to play well to help earn an overall solid score for the team.

“Only eight teams went to state, and you have to qualify for it,” Matthews said. “It’s a big deal to make it.”

Two of the Eagles’ biggest competitors put up a fight in the tournament, but Morgan Academy finished second and Lee-Scott was third.

“I’m so proud of everyone on the team,” Matthews said. “It takes the whole team to win a championship and all their efforts go together to make that happen.”

The FDA girls weren’t the only ones to make a splash at the state tournament.

The boys’ team finished fourth overall and their performance was highlighted by the performance of Perry Singleton.

Singleton won the state championship for the No. 5 seed.

“I’m also very proud of Perry and the boys for playing well,” Matthews said.

Matthews said the two teams have been solid in the two years that she’s been the coach, and she’s looking forward to next year.

“We’ve lost five seniors in the last two years, so we may have to rebuild a little bit, but we’ve been very good these last two seasons,” she said. “I’m ready for another great year next year.”