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FDA boys tennis team earns hard-fought win

FDA junior and boys’ team No. 1 seed Mason Keen fought back Monday to force a 10-point tiebreaker and came out victorious to lead the boys to a 7-0 sweep over Eastwood.

FDA junior and boys’ team No. 1 seed Mason Keen fought back Monday to force a 10-point tiebreaker and came out victorious to lead the boys to a 7-0 sweep over Eastwood.

The Fort Dale Academy boys tennis team netted a much, needed victory Monday against Eastwood Christian in the school’s final home game of the season.

The boys swept the visiting Eastwood team 7-0 and, with one notable exception, did it without dropping a single set.

Fort Dale’s No. 1 seed, Mason Keen, split sets with his opponent, forcing a 10-point tiebreaker.

Fort Dale head tennis coach Johnny Mack Brown said that Keen’s clutch victory, as well as the decisive victory of his other six players, was a bright spot in a difficult season.

“That was a really good win for [Keen],” Brown said.

“All of my other guys won in straight sets, and they didn’t lose a set.  I was pleased with that.  They needed a victory.”

The Fort Dale girls were less fortunate Monday afternoon, however, losing 5-2 to a tough Eastwood girls team.

The loss surprised Brown, but he added so did the level of talent on the opposing Eastwood team.

“The girls played hard.  They just had a really good team,” Brown said.

“My girls won at the No. 1 and No. 5 seeds, and my No. 1 girl, Madison Ann Gaston, played really well yesterday, because their No. 1 girl is really good.

“They played doubles first, and lost pretty badly.  I could tell [Gaston] was upset, but she pulled it together, and even though it was a tough match, she held in there and won it.  We’re going to state next week, so it’s good to have a big win like that.”

The FDA tennis team travels to Edgewood to make up a game that was rained out last Thursday, and the contest could prove pivotal in determining the playoff situation for Fort Dale’s boys team.

Brown added, however, that the cutoff date for playoff contention could cut the boys’ tennis season prematurely.

“I think when we have something like that, they need to delay when you can turn your stats in, because you can’t help that,” Brown said.

“We’re having a seeding meeting this Sunday, so you ought to have until this Sunday to get all of your matches in.”

But even in the even that the playoffs remain out of reach for the FDA boys team, Monday’s wins will still have reverberating effects for their confidence both at the end of this season and the start of the next.

“I think next year, we’ll be much better.  These young players will get better, and my two juniors, Mason Keen and Hunter Craig, have gotten much better,” Brown said.

“They promised me that they were going to work harder this summer to get better, and that’s what it takes.”