When it comes to playing with heart, Cedartown High School Lady Bulldogs tennis coach Leslie Morgan will tell you no team plays with it more than her 2013 squad.
On Monday, in the opening round of the Class AAA state playoffs, the Lady Bulldogs displayed that heart against Grady. In the end, however, the Lady Grey Knights pulled out an emotional 3-2 win.
“My girls played with so much heart all year long,” Morgan said.
Going into the Region 7-AAAA tournament recently, the Lady Bulldogs had an 11-4 record. Cedartown defeated River Ridge and LaFayette in the region tournament before falling to Dalton in the region title match.
“In the win over LaFayette, the match was tied 2-2 and it came down to Savannah Couey at No. 3 singles,” Morgan said. “In her match, she came back from being down to win. Her match lasted about three and a half hours.”
With a 13-5 record, Cedartown ventured into the state playoffs, falling to Grady. Cedartown was originally suppose to host the first round match, but due to scheduling conflicts the two teams agreed to play at Piedmont Park in Atlanta.
“This group of girls has had more heart this season than any other team I have coached,” Morgan said. “They never gave up. I could not be more proud of what they have accomplished this season.”
Morgan also noted the outstanding support of the parents this season.
“Their parents never gave up either,” Morgan said. “The parent support this year has really made a difference.”
Against Grady, Morgan said the team played well.
“This was the most heartbreaking match of the season,” Morgan said. “But we went into the match focused, we just couldn’t capatilize when it counted.”
After Valerie DeWandel was upset at No. 1 singles, Kasey Gibson put the Lady Bulldogs on the board with a win at No. 2 singles. Savannah Couey dropped her match at No. 3 singles.
At No. 1 doubles, Mary Paige Gray and Abigail Kiser won in three sets.
“My No. 1 doubles team of Mary Paige and Abigail went undefeated this season and last season,” Morgan said. “They have not lost a match in two years.”
With the match tied at 2-2, it came down to the final match to determine the winner.
Cedartown’s No. 2 doubles team – made up of Callie McDonald and Holly Robinson – won the first set 6-4, before dropping the second set 6-2.
In the third and final set, the Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead 5-3, and led 30-15 on top of that. However, the Lady Grey Knights came storming back to win the match and end Cedartown’s season.
“They never gave up,” Morgan said of her two freshmen. “They played so hard.”
Cedartown recorded wins over LaFayette, Cass, Pickens, Gilmer, River Ridge, Central-Carroll, Coosa (twice), Rockmart (three times) and Pepperell (twice) this season.