Dobyns-Bennett sophomore Josie Rogers hits a return against Science Hill’s Leah Eddy in the Region 1-AAA individual championship match Monday in Johnson City. (Photo by Eric Peterson)
JOHNSON CITY — Dobyns-Bennett sophomore Josie Rogers rolled to her second straight Region 1-AAA individual tennis championship with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Science Hill’s Leah Eddy on Monday afternoon at the Liberty Bell Tennis Complex.
Other champions crowned were Dobyns-Bennett’s Kaleb Pittman and Kevin Peterson in boys doubles, Tennessee High’s Matt Henson in boys singles and Science Hill’s Katie Deal and Hope Forbush in girls doubles.
While Eddy was somewhat able to handle Rogers’ powerful serve, the groundstrokes were another story. Rogers scored a majority of points off her second and third strokes.
“We’ve put in a lot of work on the groundstrokes to get ready for this,” Rogers said. “I tried to work the point and get the advantage so that I could put away her short ball.”
Coming off a state runner-up finish last season, Rogers was pleased to win a second regional title and earn a return trip to Murfreesboro.
“I’m really excited because I was worried, not knowing who would be here today,” Rogers said. “I’m excited about state although I’m trying not to go in with too many expectations, but just go in with a clear head.”
Pittman and Peterson earned a hard-fought victory over the Science Hill duo of Colin Ice and Thomas Young. After losing the first set on a tiebreaker, the D-B pair started playing closer to the net to take a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 victory.
“We were up 5-1 in the first set and they came back on us,” Pittman said. “We knew we had to get a little more aggressive.”
Added Peterson: “We had to keep our cool and stay confident. We thought of some strategy and started trying to hit it to their backhand more than their forehand. We tried some different stuff and it worked.”
Henson rallied from losing the first two games to take a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sullivan South’s Jimmy Nuckolls. It came only four days after Henson edged Nuckolls for the district title in a three-set marathon that went two days thanks to a rain delay.
“It felt good to play a regular match, regular time, just normal,” Henson said. “I felt more consistent, like I had more control today. Jimmy didn’t play his best, but he’s still a great player. I got a little shaky at the start, but I just had to keep my head in it and fight for it.”
Deal and Forbush, also state runners-up last season, took a 6-1, 6-0 victory over D-B’s Katie Heidt and Sarah Testerman
“We’ve been trying to take it one match at a time,” Deal said. “It seems like the harder we work going into the state, the easier it becomes against high-caliber opponents. I’m very proud of the way we played in this tournament, all we’ve done on and off the court to make ourselves a better doubles team.”
Individual state championships are scheduled to begin next Thursday with the championship round on Friday morning.