Panther Creek wrapped up a dominating girls’ tennis season Saturday when it shut out Charlotte's Myers Park 6-0 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A dual-team championship.
But North Carolina might never see another girls’ team as good as the 2001 Broughton Caps, who won the fourth of six straight 4A state titles.
The Catamounts are favored to win a third consecutive team title in 2015 and doubles champions Sammi Smith and Jordan Strickland can make history if they win the title for the fourth straight time. They would match the record of Fayetteville Sanford twins Lisa and Margit Monaco, who won the doubles crown 1977 through 1980.
Panther Creek lost on only seven courts all season, posting a 161-7 record in individual matches. They won 273 of 286 sets (95 percent) and 1,802 of 2,082 games (87 percent).
But as dominating as Panther Creek (21-0) was, it was not as strong as coach Steve Spivey’s club in 2001.
Christine Simpson won the first of her two singles titles in 2001 and Rankin Williams and sister Hampton Williams won the doubles. Broughton won the dual-team title.
Rankin Williams had won the singles title in 1999 and 2000 but played doubles in the 2001 tournament so she could win a doubles title with her sister.
The team also included Bonnie Baird, a three-time 4A state titlist who teamed with Julia Roach to win the doubles in 2002. Five of the six top singles players won either singles or doubles state titles during their careers.
“Our No. 6 was Emily Wade, who was ranked No. 1 in girls’ 18s in North Carolina,” recalled Spivey, who now coaches at Enloe. “The other girls played mostly in national tournaments and didn’t have state rankings.”
All of the Caps’ starters played college tennis: Rankin Williams (Princeton), Simpson (Kentucky and Wake Forest), Baird (Furman), Roach (N.C. State), Hampton Williams (Virginia) and Wade (UNC Greensboro).
“I don’t think we lost a court all year,” Spivey said. “And if we played Panther Creek, I don’t think we’d lose one.”
Cardinal Gibbons has won five straight 3A titles. The Crusaders didn’t win in 2009, but they had won four consecutive 2A crowns beginning in 2005. They have won nine in the past 10 years.
Carrboro has won five of the past six in 2A.
The Broughton boys have won four straight 4A crowns and six of the past eight.
Gina Kim, the NCHSAA 3A girls’ runner-up this fall, and former Athens Drive 4A state champion Emilia Migliaccio were honorable mention.