MURFREESBORO — Katie Deal and Hope Forbush won’t go down as state runner-up, but it’s really not a stretch at all.
The Science Hill duo lost their Class AAA girls’ doubles state semifinal match against Brentwood Ravenwood’s Iris Hao and Katie Fitt on Thursday at Old Fort Park.
It remains to be proven today, but it seems the 6-2, 7-5 decision was basically a state-championship match.
“Even though all four semifinal teams are good, there’s no question Ravenwood and Science Hill had two of the top doubles teams,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach D.C. Smith. “It was like a championship match.”
Deal and Forbush had trouble establishing themselves in the first set. Fitt’s power and Hao’s shot-making prowess were tough to match up against.
However, Science Hill got its footing in the second set and tied the score at 4-4. From there to the finish, it was a matter of Ravenwood making a few more shots in some tight games.
“We just didn’t execute,” said Forbush. “We missed some key volleys.”
Deal said Hao and Fitt just proved to be the better team on this day.
“They have so much more experience in high-caliber matches,” said Deal. “They had to play a lot of tight matches in their district.”
Still, Forbush said she believed a victory was possible.
“We knew it would be a tough match,” said Forbush. “We wanted to go in confident, but not arrogant.”
Deal said she won’t walk away from this match with her head down.
“I feel like we improved so much from the beginning of the season,” said Deal. “I’m very proud of the way we played. We are absolutely not disappointed.”
Smith said he was pleased with Deal, a senior, and Forbush, a junior.
“Just getting to the semifinals is a feat,” said Smith. “These ladies really improved this year.”
Deal and Forbush got to the semifinals with a quarterfinal win earlier Thursday. They blew past Knoxville West’s Brenna Armfield and Margeaux Armfield, 6-1, 6-2.
In girls’ singles, Dobyns-Bennett’s Josie Rogers was denied a berth in the finals. Memphis White Station freshman Kenya Jones beat the D-B sophomore, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2, in a semifinal match.
In boys’ singles, Tennessee High’s Matt Henson earned a spot in the finals buy outlasting Cordova’s Drew Forsyth. Henson led 6-1, 5-2 when Forsyth retired because of injury.
Henson, a sophomore, will play Brentwood’s Maxx Lipman in today’s final at 10 a.m. (EDT).
In boys’ doubles, D-B’s Kaleb Pittman and Kevin Peterson didn’t make it past the quarterfinals, losing 7-5, 7-5, to Brentwood’s Will Jayne and Michael Arguello.