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D-B's Hill, Rogers to play for state doubles title

Jeff Birchfield • May 24, 2018 at 9:56 PM

MURFREESBORO — Dobyns-Bennett doubles partners Willa Rogers and Lainey Hill had a clear goal of playing one more day at the TSSAA Large Schools individual tennis championships. They achieved that with a pair of convincing wins Thursday at the Adams Tennis Center.

Rogers and Hill steamrolled Brighton’s Andi Coulston and MacCauley Jones 6-0, 6-1 before easily defeating Molly and Macy Speight of Murfreesboro Central 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinal round.

The D-B duo will meet defending state doubles champions Evie Calhoun and Georgia Fischer of Brentwood in Friday’s championship match at 10 a.m.

“We play together almost every day and we’ve been practicing hard, so our chemistry has gotten better and better,” Hill said. “Winning that first match, that took a little pressure off, but we really wanted to get to the finals.”

Rogers is carrying on a family tradition. Her cousin, Ben, is a former D-B standout who played at Tennessee, and older sister Josie was a two-time state runner-up who is now playing at Navy.

“We were just trying to be aggressive,” Willa Rogers said. “It was my first match ever at the state, and I watched my sister play down here, so I’m excited to finally be in her shoes.”

‘SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCE’

Sullivan North junior Adam Nelson lost 6-4, 6-2 to Will Christian of Trinity Christian in the Small Schools boys singles quarterfinals.

Considering his lack of experience, a trip to the state tournament was an achievement for Nelson.

“It’s been crazy, the level of competition. I’ve had to step my game up through the conference tournament to now,” Nelson said. “But to just be playing for 1½ years, it’s such a great experience. It’s taught me how I have to step my game up next season.”

SET IN STONE

Tennessee High senior Stone Cozart will be going for his first state individual title after his wins over Alex Austin of Knox West and Donovan Janicek of Brentwood in the Large Schools tournament.

His Tennessee High teammates, David Bieger and Andrew Istfan, lost to Ravenwood seniors Cliff Herring and Pranav Saravanan 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in a tough doubles match.

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