RALEIGH — Since last season’s bitter end, a loss in the 4A state championship, Broughton’s girls’ tennis team has been working to return to the Burlington Tennis Center for a chance at redemption.
Saturday, they’ll make the trip again, and they’ll get a chance at revenge too.
The Capitals, which downed visiting Green Hope 5-1 on a chilly Thursday afternoon for the 4A East title, will face Greensboro Grimsley in a rematch of last year’s 5-4 title-game loss.
Broughton will have now played for 17 of the last 18 state championships, missing only the 2008 season. The Caps will be looking for its 11th state title.
“I think we’re just as solid as last year, but we’re more mature,” said Broughton coach Laura Davidson. “The loss last year kind of stunned us because we had beaten Grimsley before (in the regular season). I think (the players) are more focused and they’re ready to win the championship.”
Davidson said that a East final match with Green Hope (20-4), which had matched its longest postseason run in school history, was the perfect team to prepare the Caps (23-0) for Grimsley (20-0).
The playing style and the way several Green Hope players hit the ball gave several Broughton players trouble.
“Green Hope is the toughest match-up for us,” Davidson said. “(Green Hope coach) Beth Hedgepeth is one of the best coaches that I’ve seen. She’s always got her girls ready for us.”
Capitals junior Adrienne Overcash was the first player off the court with her 6-0, 6-0 defeat of Green Hope’s Priyanka Srinivas.
Overcash, who was also the first off the court in Wednesday’s defeat of Panther Creek, is undefeated this year for Broughton.
“I’ve been playing well the last two matches,” Overcash said. “We expect to do really well.”
Broughton senior Ashley Ramsey won 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles to double the Caps’ lead. Olivia King claimed Broughton’s third singles win by beating Brantley Belk 6-4, 6-2.
Green Hope got its only team point at No. 2 singles, where freshman Karena Zhang won 6-0, 2-6, 10-4 in a third-set tiebreaker against Kelsey Boole.
“You don’t want to play it lke ‘We can’t beat them,” said Hedgepeth.
“It means a lot when the Broughton coach says that we were their toughest match.”
Recent 4A singles champ Maggie Kane took a 6-1, 6-1 match against Green Hope No. 1 player Audrey Channell, leaving No. 3 singles as the last one to finish. Channell is the only senior in Green Hope’s lineup.
Broughton’s Kara Summerford clinched the match with a 7-6, 6-0 victory against Green Hope’s Jurasia Horvat.
The Caps haven’t needed to play doubles this postseason, though they did play them against Smithfield-Selma in a 9-0 opening-round win, but Broughton can be confident in its play. Overcash and Summerford were 4A runners-up in the individual tournament, while Kane and Boole were undefeated this year at No. 1 doubles.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps