A week ago Franklin County’s Brooke Barber and Sydney Preston lost to North Oldham’s Taylor McGuire and Nicole Walton 6-0, 6-1.
The outcome was the same when the two doubles teams met again Wednesday in the Region 8 tournament semifinals at FCHS, but the match was completely different.
McGuire and Walton won 6-2, 6-4 but had to rally in both sets, trailing 2-1 in the first and 4-1 in the second before winning five straight games and the match.
By reaching the semifinal round, Barber and Preston assured themselves of a spot in next week’s state tournament, to be played Thursday through Saturday at the University of Kentucky and Shillito Park.
“I’m very excited,” Barber said. “We can’t be too disappointed (with Wednesday’s match). They’ve had a great season and were regional champions last year. We gave it the best we could.”
“It’s disappointing to lose,” Preston said, “but I thought we played pretty well except the last couple of games.”
The FCHS team held a 2-1 lead in the first set, but McGuire and Walton closed out the set winning four straight games.
That didn’t faze the Lady Flyers, who took four consecutive games in the second set for a 4-1 lead.
The Lady Mustangs broke FCHS’ serve to open the second set, going ahead 1-0, but Barber and Preston returned the favor in the next game to even the set at 1-1 and went on to win the next three games.
After breaking NOHS’ serve twice in the first five games of the set, Franklin County’s team had its serve broken twice in the last four games.
“They had a talk with their coach,” Preston said, “and they pumped it up and came back.”
Even then Barber and Preston didn’t go quietly. Trailing 4-5 in games and 15-40 with NOHS serving in the 10th game, they rallied to take the game to duece.
McGuire and Walton were able to hold serve for the victory.
“They hit the ball really hard,” Barber said about the second set, “and we haven’t faced that type of game much all season. It’s hard to know the way to play that game when you don’t play it that often.”
McGuire and Walton, who are undefeated this season, will play Anderson County’s Hannah Wampler and Amanda Wampler today for the regional championship.
The Wamplers, seeded seventh, defeated fifth-seeded Jennifer Liu and Sarah Hawes of South Oldham 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 Wednesday.
The girls singles final will be between fourth-seeded Stephanie Pitts of South Oldham and No. 2 seed Paige Kregor of Collins.
On Wednesday Pitts upset the No. 1 seed, Rhegan Riggs of North Oldham, 7-6 (10-8), 1-6, 6-3. Kregor dispatched of seventh-seeded Natalie Dearen of South Oldham 6-3, 6-1.
The boys tournament will also conclude today at FCHS.
Top-seeded Jordan Pitts of South Oldham will take on No. 2 seed Tyler Kilambi of North Oldham in the singles final.
Pitts defeated Carroll County’s Sergio Pascual, the fifth seed, 6-0, 6-0 Wednesday in the semifinals, and Kilambi went three sets before beating South Oldham’s Steven Mayborg 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Mayborg was seeded third.
South Oldham also has the top-seeded team in doubles – William Reed and Aaron Amburgey – and they will face seventh-seeded Reese Milburn and Hunter Norris today in the finals.
Reed and Amburgey defeated Anderson County’s Tyler Glover and T.J. Pham 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-2 Wednesday.
Milburn and Norris upset South Oldham’s Dawson Bezehertny and Cameron Mount, the No. 3 seed, 6-4, 6-3.