Coach Calvin Davis had a good feeling the morning of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A tennis championship.“It was like a day that something good was going to happen,” Davis said. “I don’t think it was any marvel of coaching or unbelievable outstanding play. I think it was, our time had come and these young ladies had been waiting for it.”Charlotte Country Day beat rival Providence Day 5-1 in the championship match Oct. 26 at Durham Academy to win its 13th girls’ tennis title and first since 2003. The win also ended Providence Day’s streak of four straight titles. Davis said he didn’t think about this team as a championship team. “I think we really downplayed that, not that we had to because we hadn’t been there in a long time,” Davis said. “But I think people felt like we had a very good team and as we started the season off, we looked back after about four or five matches and we had won all those matches.… “We didn’t go in thinking we have a state championship team, we just kept trying to do a better job each time.”The Bucs finished the season 19-2. Their only losses were 5-4 to Charlotte Catholic and Providence Day. Country Day shut out nine opponents and won three more matches 8-1. Country Day hadn’t beaten Providence Day in senior captain Lara Handelsman’s first three years in the program. The Bucs made it to last year’s state championship match but lost to Providence Day, 5-4. Davis said the team never talked about the championship loss, but Handelsman said it was motivation for the team.“Losing by one point was really, it was really upsetting, so it was kind of motivation,” Handelsman said. “I wanted to finally win states, especially since it was my senior year. It made it really special.” The Bucs finally beat the Chargers 6-3 in the teams’ first meeting this season Sept. 25. The second meeting between the two teams didn’t go as well for Country Day. The match stretched over two days because of bad weather and Providence Day won 5-4 in Country Day’s last regular season match. “It was a strange feeling,” Davis said. “It seemed like nobody was upset about it. There was definitely a calmness to this team and it was sort of like, OK, that’s done, now let’s stay focused.” Providence Day won all three doubles matches in that last regular season match, putting Country Day in a hole early. Handelsman said she felt like Providence Day’s doubles teams seemed stronger throughout the season. When the teams met in the state championship, Country Day won two of the three doubles matches to start the match. Ishana Nigam and Rachel Carroll beat Katie Starr and Addison Heintze 8-6, and Aletta Ryan and Julia Loesch beat Caroline Kurani and Izzy Gallant 8-6. Handelsman and Avery Hunter were competitive in the other doubles match, losing to the Chargers’ Alexandra Lee and Emma Pixley 8-6. “I think the fact that we went out and really hurt them in doubles kind of gave us more hope that we knew our singles could pull through,” Handelsman said. “It kind of hurt them a little bit because they’re a really strong doubles team.” Hunter, Carroll and Kylie Maher won singles matches to clinch the championship before all the matches were finished. Hunter beat Pixley 6-2, 6-0, Carroll beat Kurani 2-6, 6-0, 6-0, and Maher beat Isa Sandoval 6-1, 6-4. “It was a day that these young players rose above their maturity level, and they played that way,” Davis said. “It was actually pretty awesome to watch.”Handelsman is the only senior on the team. Only two juniors played for the Bucs this year, with seven sophomores and two freshman. Much of this team should come back next year. Davis won his 300th career girls’ tennis match this season in 24 years of coaching. He has led the Bucs girls’ team to all 13 state championship and has also won 16 state titles with the boys team. He has a combined 618 wins and 129 losses in his coaching career at Country Day. This year’s state championship was special to him. “I’ve been blessed to win quite a few state championships here,” he said. “This championship probably was not so much a personal win for me as it was a win for everything Country Day stands for. How our community sees us, how our parents view what we do here as a staff and faculty, and then how the athletic program in general has taken it upon themselves to step up when we know we all have to do our part.”
Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
Charlotte Country Day girls’ tennis won its first state championship since 2003
Area All-NCISAA girls’ tennis selections • Charlotte Country Day: Lara Handelsman and Avery Hunter. • Providence Day: Alexandra Lee.
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less