Setback to Hendersonville doesn’t mar rebound season for Polk girls tennis

Polk County’s girls tennis team ended its regular season on Thursday with an 8-1 loss to Hendersonville in Mountain Foothills 7 Conference action at Polk.

The loss, though, did nothing to mar the team’s improvement this season under first-year head coach Tracy Becker. The Wolverines finished 5-8, 5-5 in conference play a year after winning just two non-conference matches.

“I’m very pleased,” Becker said. “Coming in, I had no idea what to expect after last season and not winning any conference matches. To say I’m pleased is an understatement.

“The girls have worked so hard, and that effort has shown on the court.”

Thursday’s lone match win, courtesy of Tali Thompson at No. 6 singles, marked the first individual match that the Bearcats (12-1, 10-0) have lost since Sept. 8, a string of eight consecutive 9-0 team wins. Thompson earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Hendersonville’s Zoe Corbin.

Polk ended the regular season in third place in the conference race, just a game behind R-S Central. The Wolverines defeated every team in the conference except Hendersonville, the defending 2A state champions.

Next up for Polk players will be Tuesday’s MF7 tournament at Brevard, where the Wolverines will look to qualify as individuals for the 2A West Regional.

The Wolverines will then start looking to continue to develop for next season. Polk loses just two seniors, Cameron Ward and Kayleigh Wilson.

“Losing Cameron Ward means we will have to fill a starting spot,” Becker said. “Hopefully in the offseason, the girls will continue to put in a lot of work and improve even more.

“As a coach, I’ve learned so much in this first season. I have played for a long time, but I had never been a head coach, so I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully next year I can bring more experience to the team as well.”

1. Ramsey Ross (H) d. Elizabeth Vitale 6-0, 6-2; 2. Raleigh Prichard (H) d. Sarah Vitale 6-0, 6-1; 3. Reese Redden (H) d. Bella Sheffron 6-1, 6-0; 4. Anna Macdowell (H) d. Cameron Ward 6-3, 6-0; 5. Kruesi Graham (H) d. Allie Quoyle 6-3, 6-3; 6. Tali Thompson (PC) d. Zoe Corbin 6-3, 6-1.

1. Prichard-Ross (H) d. E. Vitale-Sheffron 8-1; 2. Graham-Redden (H) d. S. Vitale-Ward 8-1; 3. Macdowell-Corbin (H) d. Quoyle-Mia Wolfe 8-4.

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