Jackets celebrate key win vs. rival
Lee County and Southern Lee dueled under the lights Monday night. It wasn't on the gridiron, that's still a couple months away. It wasn't on the soccer pitch or a diamond.
The Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers traded serves and groundstrokes for nearly four hours of action at Lee County Monday afternoon into night. The Lady Jackets beat their county, and now Cape Fear Valley Conference, rivals 7-2.
It's the third victory in four matches for Lee County (3-3, 3-2), which is good for the Lady Jackets in the CFVC standings. Victory against the Lady Cavaliers meant a win plus a team photo after the long contest, with one of the flip-card scoreboards, showing 7-2, as the trophy in the middle.
"Definitely, this is huge for the girls," said new Lee County head coach Andrew Carucci.
The Lady Yellow Jackets have worked through the preseason, and it's steadily paying off, Carucci said. They also put in extra time on the courts ahead of facing their county rivals.
"This weekend they came out here on their own to hit by themselves because they were so excited for this match," Carucci said.
"It's good they see all the practice paid off and they pulled out a big win," he said.
The 7-2 team score belies how competitive and close the play was most of the day.
Three singles matches were tight to the end, two down to final tiebreakers by the slimmest of margins. The Lady Jackets won two of the three. Different outcomes could've led to a 3-3 score headed to doubles matches.
Anna Barbee rallied from a set down and 1-5 down to win her match, with a second-set tiebreaker and a match tiebreaker which Barbee won 12-10, against Southern Lee's Selena Burchette. Barbee won five straight games to keep the second set going. Burchette, who rolled through the first set winning 6-1, won a game to make it 6-6. After Barbee won the set tiebreaker, the two traded the lead in the match tiebreaker and Barbee ran off the last three points. The Barbee vs. Burchette match ran just over two hours.
At the No. 3 singles spot, Kaitlin Gotschalk won the opening set 6-1 against Ashley Darr, who then turned the second set around for a 4-3 lead. Gotschalk won three straight games from there to earn an important point.
At No. 1 singles, Britta Bowers, a Lady Cav sophomore, won the first set 6-1. Sydney Blum, a Lady Jacket junior, won the second set 6-0 but began battling through cramps late in the match.
Stretching, Gatorade and two delays helped Blum keep playing, and then continue later for a doubles' victory with Mason Sanders. Bowers regained her serving and hitting in time for a 10-8 win in the tiebreaker.
Gaining experience playing tight matches, along with the 7-2 victory, made the day doubly valuable Carucci said.
"It's great seeing the girls take what we're working on and talking about and use it in matches," he said.
The conference play continues for both squads. Southern Lee is hosting Douglas Byrd at 4:30 p.m. today. Lee County travels to play Gray's Creek at 4:30 p.m. today.
Lee County 7, Southern Lee 2
Singles: Britta Bowers (S) d. Sydney Blum 6-1, 0-6 (10-8), Mason Sanders (L) d. Madeline Lutz 6-0, 6-3, Kaitlin Gotschalk (L) d. Ashley Darr 6-1, 6-4, Anna Barbee (L) d. Selena Burchette 1-6, 7-6 (12-10), Madison Childs (L) d. Kim Romo 6-3, 6-3, Emily Gotschalk (L) d. Boone 6-3, 6-2
Doubles: Blum/Sanders (L) d. Bowers/Lutz 8-4, K. Gotschalk/Barbee (L) d. Darr/Burchette 8-4, Romo/Boone (S) d. Childs/Morgan Pedley 8-4