Lipscomb bumps off EHS girls

By Wes Holtsclaw

   MEMPHIS -- The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones knew the cards were against them going into the TSSAA A/AA girls team tennis championships.
   Elizabethton was the only public school in the bracket, which included three of the toughest private schools in the state.
   The overall lack of experience at the state tournament level for some of the girls worked in favor of David Lipscomb, which wound out with a 4-0 victory over the Lady Cyclones at the Hutchison School tennis complex in Germantown on Tuesday morning.
   Junior Amanda Pike, who competes in the singles bracket today, was leading her match when Lipscomb sealed things on the other courts.
   "A big problem today was that they were nervous," said Elizabethton coach Danny O'Quinn, whose team has made the state tourney two out of the last three years.
   "(David Lipscomb) is by far the best we have played this year," he said.
   Only Pike and senior Allison Parlier had prior experience on the team.
   "It was a good experience for the girls," the coach said. "It was everyone's first state appearance except Allison (Parlier) and Amanda."
   Parlier competed in the 2002 state tourney in Chattanooga, and Pike won the A/AA State runner-up medal in doubles with Liz Dove last year.
   Parlier fell to Lipscomb's Brittany Stuart, 6-1, 6-3 in two sets in the second-seeded match.
   Leigh Ellen Bruce topped Ashley Street (6-1, 6-1), Katie Beth Kelly defeated Erin Rogers (6-0, 6-0) and Alyson Scott beat Kristina Elliott (6-2, 6-4) to secure things for the Nashville-based school.
   Lipscomb moved on to the state finale against University School of Jackson, which ousted Chattanooga Christian 4-2.
   While the majority of the Lady Cyclones return to action next year, Parlier ended her high school career with the tennis ladies.
   Parlier gave her all in her match and came away pleased with the way she went out.
   "They were good," she said of Lipscomb. "I played the hardest I could. It was a good match and we both played real well. I'm pretty satisfied about it."
   "I'm going to miss everybody -- my teammates, coaches and everything we did," she said. "It's been fun."
   Pike will get her first chance to earn state gold in singles play after two previous engagements in doubles.
   In her team match with Lipscomb's Linnea Jordan, Pike took the first set 6-3 and was up 3-2 in the second when things were called off.
   She got a good warm-up for today's opening match against junior Birgit Bach of Cannon County.
   "It was a good warm-up for her," said O'Quinn. "I think she's got a good chance."
   Said Pike: "It was a good match. I wish I had gotten to finish it. She's a good player."
   Amanda plans to take it one at a time today, beginning at 8 a.m. CST, with hopes of making it to the finals.
   "I'm going to have to take it one match at a time. I know who my opponent is, but I don't know anything about her," she said. "I have been playing pretty good and I hope it carries through tomorrow."
   One thing that carries over in Pike's favor is her previous experience.
   "The experience helps," she said. "Having been here before and having played against some of the best players gets you ready for anything."
   Unicoi County Goes Home Early
   In the first round of AA softball action in Bellhaven, Mississippi, the Unicoi County Lady Devils didn't find any success.
   The Watauga Conference regular season co-champion was defeated 2-0 by Walker Valley and had its season ended with an 8-4 loser's bracket loss to Brighton.
   The Lady Devils had numerous chances to score in the first game, but left runners on third several times.