Sandwiched between matches with two of its strongest rivals for a District 4-4A championship, and with wicked wind gusts playing havoc with the ball, William Blount could have been in position for a trap game hosting Alcoa Wednesday afternoon.
Despite some odd points with the ball making up its own mind as to whether in or out, both William Blount squads dominated play with 9-0 whitewashes over Alcoa.
“We had less than ideal weather conditions today, but all our players came out, kept their focus and did well in their matches,” William Blount coach Wendy Petty told The Daily Times.
Coming off big wins against Maryville and Farragut and with Bearden visiting Monday, the Governors wasted little time dispatching a young and inexperienced Alcoa squad. William Blount (5-0) was perfect in three double-match bagels and four shutouts on six single courts.
Alcoa (0-3) came tantalizingly close to picking up a point on court five singles. Both players broke serves after reaching 5-5 to end at 6-6, but Tyler Gilliland preserved the WB sweep by picking up the final two points in a 7-6 (8-6 tie-breaker) win over Trevor Wheeler.
The wind was strong enough that at times the tennis balls resembled frisbees with the odd twists and turns during flight. Petty and Alcoa coach Maria VanAudenhove agreed to shorten each match from the conventional 8-game format to six games. If the match had been a key district competition, rescheduling might have been in order, Petty said.
William Blount senior Nick Fish, who combined with Braxton Whitehead for a 6-0 win on doubles court three, told The Daily Times that “a lot of balls were curving and leaving the court. Serving was a little difficult, but we had fun with it. “.
John Macon and Baylor Cupp as top singles and No. 1 doubles are virtual guarantees for WB points in every match, but depth at the lower courts has been a boost to the hopes for a district championship for the Governors.
“It’s been pretty competitive for positions in the lower spots this year, compared to other years,” Fish said. “I feel like we are a deep team. We feel competitive at the upper spots but we also feel really good how we play in the lower seeds. “
William Blount girls were even more dominant over the Lady Tornadoes. The Lady Governors did not drop a single game in six 6-0 thrashings on singles, starting at No. 1 Ella Webb and extending to No. 6 Chloie O’Dell. Two doubles matches were 6-1 victories and the third a default win as Alcoa was short on players to start the contest.
“A lot of us are first time players and we’ve never played at all before this year,” Alcoa senior Zoe Hickman said. “We’re growing and learning lots of skills. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re already doing a lot better than when we started.
“I love the sport. It’s so much fun and our team is like a big family, we just love each other. It’s been good to play, ”Hickman said.
First-year Alcoa coach VanAudenhove said that compounding issues with the wind and a roster composed heavily of first-year players, two of her top three seeds were unable to play Wednesday, leading to juggling positions and putting youngsters into their first competition of the season .
“I told my players to take it one point at a time and just learn some pointers,” VanAudenhove said. “We’re still learning how to keep score. They’ve grown tremendously in just being able to come out and play a match on the court. “
William Blount hosts Bearden on Monday in a match that could determine the top regular-season team for District 4-4A. Alcoa returns to District 2-1A play Thursday at Northview Academy.