Last season, Broughton senior Ashley Ramsay watched on the sidelines as her tennis team was denied an opportunity for a state championship three-peat by Greensboro Grimsley.
On Saturday at the Burlington Tennis Center, Ramsay was in a perfect position to do something about returning the title to the undefeated Caps, and the senior delivered in a big way.
Ramsay recovered from a first set loss to Grimsley’s Rachel Cox at No. 6 singles, coming back to win the second set and then the tiebreaker. Her victory sent the rest of the Caps running onto the court in celebration of a 5-1 triumph over the Whirlies, which gave Broughton its third NCHSAA 4A state championship in the past four seasons.
“It was an unbelievable feeling, to lose the first set that bad and then come back,” said Ramsay, who prevailed 0-6, 6-3, 10-5. “(Cox) used a lot of slices, but I just needed some time to figure things out and be patient.
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“I knew it was important to just keep the ball on the court and fight for every point.”
The Caps finished the season 24-0, including 5-1 postseason wins over area powers Green Hope and Panther Creek.
“We knew the momentum was going Ashley’s way, so we really wanted to encourage her,” Broughton coach Laura Davidson said. “She worked so hard for a spot in our top six and it was just a great way for her to go out as a senior.”
Although Broughton was not scared to go to doubles with the Whirlies, who edged the Caps 5-4 in last year’s championship match, state individual champion Maggie Kane offered an insightful view.
“We’ve won 6-0 or 5-1 all through the playoffs, so we haven’t actually had a lot of practice recently playing doubles,” said Kane, who defeated Majdou Lavoie 6-3, 6-3 in first singles. “We were really excited to just get it done in singles. We focused on every match and it feels really good to bring this title back today.”
Other Broughton winners included sophomore Kara Summerford at No. 3 singles (6-4, 6-1), junior Olivia King at No. 4 (6-1, 6-1) and junior Adrienne Overcash at No. 5 (6-0, 6-0). Davidson said the trio, just like the team, finished with unblemished records this year.
“A lot of our girls said all along that winning the duals was the most important goal,” Davidson said. “Grimsley is extremely talented, but we looked at last year as a huge upset, and we came into this year knowing we had to take it one match at a time and take nothing for granted.”
Alex Silver was the lone winner for the Whirlies (20-1), who had defended their championship without suffering a loss until Saturday. Silver edged senior Kelsey Boole 6-4, 6-2 in No. 2 singles.
Boole and King reached the state semifinals at individual doubles last week, along with the team of Summerford and Overcash.
The victory marked the 11th state title for Broughton girls’ tennis.