Catholic denies Warriors' title bid
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 4, 2007 2:45 AM
BURLINGTON -- The Eastern Wayne women's tennis team just couldn't compose the happy ending it seeked for its storybook season.
The pesky villain survived.
Perennial powerhouse Charlotte Catholic dominated singles play and turned back the Warriors 5-0 for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team championship. The Cougars earned their seventh state crown overall, while Eastern Wayne was making its first title-match appearance.
"We were out-matched going into it and knew that," said Warriors head coach Nancy Dawson. "But my girls hung in there and played them point for point. I couldn't ask for anything more. We just needed a few more (shots) in our bag of tricks."
Catholic's players hit consistent winners throughout the 96-minute affair. The Cougars grabbed 1-0 leads on four of six courts and never let the Warriors get into a rhythm -- either at the net or baseline.
Top-seeded Julia Paulson won the final seven games in a 6-1, 6-0 decision over Eastern Wayne junior Lindsey Frederick, who suffered just her fourth loss of the season. Second-seeded Kourtney Woodard upended senior Lauren Bynum 6-1, 6-0.
"I don't think I played as well as I should have," said Bynum, one of two seniors in the starting lineup. "I was a tad bit nervous, but I made a lot of unforced errors that I shouldn't have made.
"I'm not really upset, but just happy that we got here."
Sixth-seeded Cameron Grist shut out the Warriors' Elizabeth Borden 6-0, 6-0. Catholic moved within one point of its first state championship since 2004 when fourth-seeded Tori Anderson stopped Casie Musgrave 6-1, 6-1.
"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be," said Musgrave, who played her final match for the Warriors. "I just decided to go out there and play my game. Win or lose, I'm happy to be here. It was real honor for our team and school."
Third-seeded Sarah Trautman secured the Cougars' title with a 6-3, 6-2 conquest of Mollie Musgrave. One of four underclassmen, Musgrave trailed by one game in each set before Trautman gained control by consistently hitting winners from the baseline.
Eastern Wayne sophomore Danielle Daniel dropped the opening set to Ashley Verhein at the No. 5 slot. The two were tied at 5-5 in the second set when Trautman and Musgrave concluded play.
The Cougars denied the Warriors' bid to become just the third dual-team state champion in Wayne County history. Goldsboro captured the 4-A title in 1990, the inaugural year of dual-team competition. C.B. Aycock emerged the 3-A champion in 1997.
"Nobody wins it their first time here and we didn't dare tell the girls that," said Dawson. "That just gives us something to work for next year. I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Warriors (17-2) return four starters next year -- Frederick, Mollie Musgrave, Daniel and Borden. Bynum and Casie Musgrave expect great things from the quartet, who have helped build a solid foundation for a program described as a "best-kept secret' this season.
"Our seven, eight and nine (players) are awesome, and will be just as good next year," said Musgrave. "I'm looking forward to coming here (to Burlington) to watch them next year. They can do it next year, if they want to."
2007 N.C. High School
Athletic Association Class 3-A
(at Burlington Tennis Center)
Charlotte Catholic 5
Eastern Wayne 0
Singles: No. 1 Julia Paulson (CC) d. Lindsey Frederick 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Kourtney Woodard (CC) d. Lauren Bynum 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Sarah Trautman (CC) d. Mollie Musgrave 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 Tori Anderson (CC) d. Casie Musgrave 6-1, 6-1; No. 6 Cameron Grist (CC) d. Elizabeth Borden 6-0, 6-0.
Notes: No. 5 singles not completed with Catholic leading 1-0 after the first set.
Records: Charlotte Catholic 20-5, Eastern Wayne 17-3.
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