The Cambridge Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team got some sweet revenge while claiming the first state title in school history. The Bears sweeping defending champion Starr’s Mill 3-0 to clinch the Georgia Class 5A State Championship and cap a 17-2 drumming of their opponents through the state tournament.
Fresh off a 5th place finish at the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Girls A Division, the Bears used a blend of experienced seniors and talented freshman in their roster – the perfect success formula. Aimee Dervishian at No. 1 singles, Karah James at No.2 singles and Hannah Baird at No.3 singles produced solid tennis on the way to the title, while Brenna Feirer, Kiley Dempsey, Alyssa McDonald and Hannah Walden took care of the doubles encounters.
The girls’ triumph made the entire school proud, but if there was one person who enjoyed it like no one else, it was the Bears coach Leigh Popp.
"The girls played the best I have ever seen them play, so that was very rewarding,” said Popp. Winning the state championship was a fitting end to Popp’s coaching adventure, as she is stepping down to have a baby in July. The soon-to-be mother acknowledged the strength of the opponent and the rivalry, which is growing stronger by the year.
“Starr's Mill has definitely become our biggest rival in the last 3 years. We had a tight, controversial match against them in 2012 in the semi-finals that we ended up losing. We played another great match last season in the state championship but came up short. This season, we set our goal early to win the state championship and beat Starr's Mill doing just that, so taking the title from Starr's Mill was very rewarding."
Popp also praised her six seniors who led the team by example, and the younger girls who have some big shoes to fill next year. "Our seniors have helped create a name for Cambridge tennis in Georgia. We're not stopping there as we continue to add great talent. With the addition of two freshman in the starting lineup, (Hanna Giddings and Katey Fruehauf), we have been unstoppable."