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FDA tennis teams fall in state finals

FDA junior Hunter Craig fought ably Monday, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide against the state’s top competitors as Fort Dale’s tennis teams fell at the AISA state tournament.

FDA junior Hunter Craig fought ably Monday, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide against the state’s top competitors as Fort Dale’s tennis teams fell at the AISA state tournament.

The Fort Dale Academy tennis team’s year of rebuilding has come to a premature end as the Eagles were bounced from the Alabama Independent Schools Association (AISA) state tennis tournament Monday.

The various seeds from the FDA boys’ and girls’ tennis teams met their match against a litany of top contenders from around the state as each team’s players were split into tournaments corresponding to their seed.

Though Fort Dale didn’t fare as well as they’d hoped, head tennis coach Johnny Mack Brown said there was a silver lining to the otherwise overcast season.

“On a positive, we got some young people some experience, so next year we should be much better off,” Brown said.

“Our No. 5 girl, who had never been to state before, managed to take a round off her opponent.  And my No. 1 player won a seed in round, and then she ran into the No. 1 seed from Northside, who is probably going to win the tournament. But my No. 1 girl played really well this year, coming from No. 4 to play No. 1.”

Brown added that he was pleased with the year’s progress overall, especially considering that many of his team’s members only had a few weeks of tennis experience under their belts prior to the start of the season.

That, combined with the added tension of playing on the stage of the AISA state tournament, made for a bit more adversity than his less-experienced players were accustomed to.

“When things go wrong, you don’t have a teammate to fall back on,” Brown said. “You either win it, or you lose it.  It’s a lot of pressure, especially on first-timers.

““They’d never seen anything like that or been a part of anything like that. Now they have, so they’ll be a little bit more prepared for what we have to do next year.”

The FDA tennis team won’t lose a single player between both the girls and boys teams, with two soon-to-be seniors returning for the boys and three for the girls.

“We took a lot of positives out of yesterday,” Brown said.

“I’m looking forward to next season.  It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”