GIRLS' PREP TENNIS: All-E'town finals offer little drama (05/18)

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By Greg Crews



By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN The butterflies, the jitters, the anxiety. All the things usually associated with playing in a region championship appeared to be absent from the girls’ 5th Region Tennis Tournament finals on Friday at the University Drive Park Tennis Courts. It could have been because all of the finalists were so incredibly confident and poised. Or, it could have been because they were all teammates. “It takes all the pressure off,” Elizabethtown junior Jessica Maxwell said. “You still want to win and all, but you are just out there having fun.” In a pair of laid back, all-Elizabethtown finals, the top-seeded players came away with the titles. Senior Amanda Young defeated freshman Jenna Sallee (No. 2 seed) for the singles crown, while senior Lydia Youngblood and Maxwell defeated senior Emily DuPlessis and seventh-grader Lexy Hazle (No. 6 seed) for the doubles championship. Elizabethtown had already locked up its sixth consecutive title in the semifinals. The Lady Panthers finished with 18 points, while second-place LaRue County had 10. “Our goal at the beginning of every season is to win the region title,” Elizabethtown coach Andrea Atcher said. “At the beginning of the quarterfinals we were tied with LaRue County, 8-8. We faced them on all four courts (two quarterfinal matches and two semifinal matches) and defeated them all four times. “I’m really proud of the girls,” she added. “Coming in as a top seed, you are expected to win, but that can make it even harder.” Youngblood and Maxwell, however, made it look easy. The duo won 48-of-61 games, while never giving up more than four games in a set on their way to taking the title. In the championship match, they defeated DuPlessis and Hazle, 6-2, 6-3. “We played pretty well I thought,” Youngblood said. “We had fun (in the finals). We got a bit distracted watching the boys’ doubles final a few times, but other than that I thought we did a pretty good job.” It marked Youngblood’s first region title, while Maxwell has now won three. But put them together and they still don’t have as many as Young. In a rematch of the conference final, Young defeated Sallee, 6-4, 6-2 for her fifth region title — her second singles title. “It feels really good,” Young said of winning the title in her final region tournament match. “Actually it feels really, really, really good.” Young lived up to her No. 1 seed on her way to the title, topping Nelson County’s No. 5 seed, Morgan Stine in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-0. In the semifinals, she beat LaRue County’s No. 3 seed, Maggie Russell, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, before beating second-seeded Sallee in the final. “Amanda has been a very steady and solid player for a long time,” Atcher said. “She has had a great career and it’s great to see her win in her final match on these courts.” LaRue County finished as the runner-up for the team title, while Central Hardin took third. “E’town is a very dominant and talented team,” LaRue County coach Chris Estes said. “Our goal coming into the season was to finish better than third and second is definitely better than third.” Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754