Cass and Woodland split
by Jason Greenberg
Apr 03, 2014 | 473 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cass and Woodland tennis teams played each other Wednesday at Woodland High in a match that not only involved a county rivalry, but also provided a preview for next season when the two schools will compete in the same region.

The boys and the girls matches were each extremely competitive as the Cass boys won 3-2, while the Woodland girls won 4-1, including three tiebreaker victories.

“I knew Cass was going to come here tough,” Woodland girls coach Beth Heath said. “We have enjoyed the last two years of us being in a different region. Sadly, next year, we’re going to have that rivalry. We get a long with Cass. They get along with us, but it’s always been a rivalry.”

The boys line one match featured freshman Avery Cornett of Cass and Brandon Rutledge of Woodland. Cornett won the first set 6-2. However, Rutledge started the second set strong and got out to a 3-0 lead on Cornett.

Cornett would then win six straight games to secure the match in two sets.

“I was just trying to keep it to his backhand,” Cornett said. “I was down 3-0. I tried to hit more top spin on the ball and that worked.”

“Avery Cornett played really well,” Cass boys coach Kevin Cunningham said. “He played loose in the second set and really came back and refocused himself. I was really happy to see him rededicate himself.”

For Woodland, Griffin Hale and Grayson Roberts were able to score points in No. one and No. two singles, respectively. Hale defeated Cass’ Eric Daley 6-2, 6-2, while Roberts defeated Jacob McBrayer 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

“I’m happy with the line 2 and 3 singles,” Woodland boys coach Kevin Tant said. “Cass is a strong team, they’re power hitters, so we changed the strategy and it worked. We changed the pace of the ball so they couldnt hit power shots.

“[Roberts] played an amazing match against an amazing player.”

In boys doubles, the Woodland No. 1 line had to retire after two games because of an injury to Skylar Henderson.

With the region tournament approaching in less than two weeks, Tant is concerned that Henderson will have to miss time with the injury.

“Skylar Henderson has been amazing for us because he’s the dominant player. He’s a net guy, really tall, is about 6-1,” Tant said. “It’s a devastating loss for us at this point. I don’t know what to do with him [hurt] right now.”

The forfeit proved to be the deciding factor in the match as Cass’ second doubles team of Seth Colston and Caleb Reeves won their match over Woodland’s Albert McKnight and Dustin Coffey, 6-0, 6-1, to beat Woodland 3-2.

“I feel good with the victory. You always want to win. I hate that we won that way,” Cunningham said. “It’s tough to win that way because you would always rather it be settled on the court versus an injury.”

On the girls’ side, Woodland’s 4-1 victory was not indicative of how close the matches were.

“We knew this was going to be tough today,” Heath said.

At the No. 1 singles line, Woodland’s Erin Marratta defeated Ryleigh Lanham in a third set tiebreaker 4-6, 6-4, 10-2.

Katie Abernathy did the same to Cass’ Aleigh Beard, winning 6-4, 5-7, 10-6 at the No. 2 line.

“[Abernathy] is sitting 10-1 this year,” Heath said. “She’s done an outstanding job at No. 2. We’ve won a lot of matches because of her.”

Somalia Lewis was able to sweep the singles matches with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Jessica Frank at the No. 3 line.

Cass’ win came from Flower Nation and Morgan Mayton at the No. 1 doubles line. The pair defeated Susy Beltrain and LeArian Turner 6-2, 7-5.

“They’ve been playing together all season and they’re the dynamic duo at doubles,” Cass girls coach Brooke McDurmon said of Nation and Mayton. “They’re our strongest. We really depend upon them a lot.”

However, Woodland was able to take the No. 2 doubles match thanks to Karlie Abernathy and Ashlyn Walker, who defeated Cass’ Hannah Howard and Brianna Summers in three sets.

“I knew it was going to be a close match. I’m excited with a 4-1 win over Cass,” Heath said. “Anytime there is three tiebreakers, it is a very competitive match.

“I thought they all played well. I thought our line 1 doubles played well even with the loss, but Somalia played her best match of the season.”

The loss is the first of the season for Cass, who is still undefeated in region play and has locked up the top seed heading into the region tournament.