On Saturday afternoon the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships crowned a new champion for the first time since 2010. The Ransom Everglades Raiders claimed the championship in the first tournament appearance. The 2014 tournament provided plenty of excitement leading up to the Raiders championship battle with three-time defending champion Baylor.
The tournament opened with dominant performances by our four semifinalists. In Group A Walton rolled past Sayre and Highlands of Kentucky winning the dual matches 18-0 and outscoring their opponents 192-33 in individual matches. Baylor, three-time tournament champions, opened the tournament with a bang defeating defending Florida Class 3A State Champion Barron Collier 8-1 and clinched their semi-final berth with a 9-0 win over Notre Dame Prep. Pine Crest won their group with a pair of 9-0 victories over West Virginia Class 3A State Champion Huntington and Assumption. The final semi-final spot went to Ransom Everglades who defeated Oklahoma Class 6A State Champion Duncan 9-0 in their opener before battling Girls Preparatory School in a 3+ hour match eventually winning 9-0.
The tournament semi-final matchups paired Walton against Baylor and a Sunshine State battle between Pine Crest and Ransom Everglades. Baylor opened their semi-final with a commanding 3-0 lead after doubles and clinched their place in the championship after victories by Drew Hawkins (No. 5 Singles) and Maggie Crumbliss (No. 3 Singles). The Red Raiders went on to win the match with a final score of 6-3. Ransom Everglades pulled off a comeback in their semi-final after falling behind 2-1 after the doubles matches. Pine Crest's Amanda Rabin gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead before Ransom Everglades went on to win four of the top five singles positions including Claudia Mackenzie's 2-6, 6-1, 10-2 three set victory at No.2 Singles.
The Championship match got off to an exciting start as Baylor's Samantha Caswell & McCall Morgan defeated Allegra Hanlon & Daniela Lopez 8-5 to give the Red Raiders an early lead. Ransom Everglades won the next two doubles positions handing Baylor their only doubles losses of the tournament to take a 2-1 lead into the singles matches. Tournament Most Valuble Player Claudia Mackenzie defeated Harper Caswell 6-4, 6-2 to give Ransom the 3-1 lead and despite dropping No.6 Singles the Raiders clinched their first title with wins by Daniela Lopez and Heather Boehm. Baylor's Samantha Caswell and McCall Morgan won the final two matches on court to bring the final score to 5-4.
The third place match was dominated by Walton from the beginning with the Raiders outscoring Pine Crest 25-12 in the doubles matches to take a 3-0 lead. Walton went on to win all six singles matches beginning with Bella Kuse's 6-0, 6-1 victory over Stephanie Taylor at No.1 Singles. Walton's 9-0 victory claimed them the highest finish in tournament history for a Georgia school.
In the fifth place match Barron Collier gave the Sunshine State their third top 5 finish in the 2014 tournament. The Cougars took control of the match early taking a 4-2 lead after singles with wins by Kaeli Smashey, Hannah Belsinger and Emily Wyman at the top 3 singles positions. The drama was put to rest quickly in the doubles point with Kaeli Smashey and Hannah Belsinger claiming an 8-5 win in the first doubles match completed to clinch the 5th place win for Barron Collier in the first tournament appearance. Girls Preparatory School, a two-time tournament finalist, finished sixth with the loss.