Strength in singles lifts Owen past Polk in key WHC tennis clash

Polk County senior Alicia Twitty concentrates on a return during Wednesday's match.

Less than an hour into Wednesday’s match with Owen, Polk County girls tennis coach Richard Davis offered a prediction.

“If we can win one of those two matches,” Davis said, nodding toward matches in progress, “we can win this. Otherwise, we’re going to lose 5-4.”

Davis proved a perfect prognosticator, as Owen won four of six singles matches and hung on for a 5-4 win in a Western Highlands Conference match in the Wolverines’ home season finale.

With the win, Owen assured itself of at least a second-place finish in the WHC, with Polk settling into third with a 12-5 overall record, 4-3 in WHC play. The Wolverines close their season on Tuesday at Hendersonville.

Hannah Jenne earned a 10-1 win over Jaiden Tweed at No. 1 singles and Bella Marino took a 10-6 victory over Anne Thomas Mathews at No. 6. But Owen swept the remaining four matches, including No. 2 singles, where Camryn Bolick won the final two games to nip Tana Harris 10-8, and No. 3 singles, where Ashley Valencia pulled away to hand Haven Dufford a 10-5 loss.

“We had a chance if we could have pulled off a win at two or three,” Davis said. “They’ve got a very good team.”

Marino and Trinity Branham teamed for an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles and Jenne and Harris, with darkness at hand, rallied for an 8-6 win over Tweed and Valencia. The Owen duo held a 5-1 lead before Jenne and Harris charged back to win the match.

Owen’s Madison Devan defeated Alicia Twitty 10-3 at No. 4 singles and Amy Burleson handed Branham a 10-5 loss at No. 5 singles. Bolick and Devan teamed for an 8-2 win over Dufford and Ava Marino at No. 2 doubles.

The game marked the final home appearance for seniors Twitty, Alana Seay and Logan Morlino.