Doubles a big boost for Lady Wolverines
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
May 12, 2013 12:43 AM | 1492 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Audrey Cunningham, above, teamed with Leigh Norsworthy to give Walker a pivotal point at No. 1 doubles, boosting the Lady Wolverines on to the Class A private-school state title.
<Br>Staff photo by Laura Moon
Audrey Cunningham, above, teamed with Leigh Norsworthy to give Walker a pivotal point at No. 1 doubles, boosting the Lady Wolverines on to the Class A private-school state title.
Staff photo by Laura Moon
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JONESBORO — Walker’s girls tennis program won consecutive state titles in 2007 and ’08 behind stellar performances from their singles players.

Now, they can thank their doubles teams for their 2013 state championship trophy.

The Lady Wolverines defeated area rival Mount Pisgah Christian 3-2 on Saturday in the Class A private-school state finals at Clayton County International Park.

Freshman Mia Pattillo stepped up at No. 3 singles to beat Sarah Chapdelaine 6-1, 6-2 for the match-clinching point, but it was Walker’s doubles teams that set the tone.

Holly Harkins and Caroline Kunetz beat Alex Brady and Gigi Large 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 to put the Lady Wolverines (12-9) on the board, but Audrey Cunningham and Leigh Norsworthy’s 7-5, 6-4 victory over Nicole Peters and Cissy Jamieson at No. 1 ended up being the turning point.

“The doubles teams pulled it off (against Mount Pisgah),” Walker coach Jan Steffen said. “My singles players are not tournament-level players, but they still played their hearts out. The one thing we worked on all season long was staying in matches, no matter if you were up or down.”

Cunningham and Norsworthy both remembered being the ones who lost the match-clinching point to Peters and Jamieson last month, when Walker lost 3-2 to Mount Pisgah (13-6) in the semifinals of the Area 4A tournament.

But after helping Walker win 3-2 decisions on the road over Area 1A champion Brookstone in the state quarterfinals and 3A champion Pace Academy in the semifinals, Cunningham and Norsworthy got another shot at the Mount Pisgah duo and extracted some revenge.

“We lost and that cost us our win, so it was good to come back and beat them,” Cunningham said.

That victory didn’t come easy, however.

After climbing out of a 4-1 first-set deficit, it took a couple of deuces for Cunningham to hold serve and win the first set. They finally did so when Cunningham’s first serve set up a winning volley by Norsworthy.

In the second set, they found themselves trailing 3-1 before coming back.

“For us to get that win was key,” Steffen said. “It was definitely the turning point of the match.”

Amitha Muthiah and Carly Bloom lost at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, but not without a fight.

Muthiah lost 6-4, 6-2 to Bianca Tarrago after leading 4-1 in the first. Bloom nearly sent the match to a third set after a tough start and had to settle for a 6-0, 7-5 loss.

Pattillo had to endure a few lengthy points as the only Walker player left on court, but she managed to survive.

“The first set, I came out aggressive and won it pretty fast,” Pattillo said. “I got tired in the second set and had to pace myself, but in the last game, I was ready to win and I hit it hard for that one.”
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