Houston twins advance to regional tourney A

May 7—Rachel and Carrie Houston have long been two of the better tennis players in the region. Individually, they're both very good in singles competition.

But together they pose a huge problem for opposing teams. They have speed and quickness, good communication, and they seem to work very well together.

The Houstons were so well in tune this past weekend they worked hard to finish as runner-up in the girls doubles bracket Tuesday in the district tournament at Fairfield Glade.

"Rachel and Carrie finished second overall," Stone coach Dylan Nelson said. "They won the semifinal, but then came up against the team from top team from Cookeville in the final.

"We came out strong, won the first set 7-5, up in second set, but we dropped off a little bit as to what we're trying to do. We had plenty of opportunities."

The Houstons opened the tournament with a bye in the first round before they battled DeKalb County's Kaylee Hoersch an Abby Crook by a score of 6-1, 6-0.

They then beat Cooke-ville's No. 2 doubles team — Emmy Bragga and Ella Brown — 6-1, 6-2 — in the semifinals. That win put them in the title match against Cookeville's other team of Leah Stransky and Katie Rohr. That score is 7-5, 5-7 and 4-6.

Courtney Calhoun lost to Molly Neal of Cumberland County in three sets. Courtney had beat her earlier in the season, but Molly played well.

Sydney won her first match pretty easily. But in the second round she played Marian Swindell of White County, someone she had beaten earlier in the season, but came up short this time.

"Sydney really didn't have her A game. The first set was kind of rough and the second set was more competitive," Nelson said. "It came down to the wire in the second set ... it was a very close match."

He continued, "I personally thought I saw Sydney making it to the semifinal. Courtney had the tougher draw, but I thought we would see her in the second round ... I think both of them would have liked to have gotten to the next match."

Also playing doubles for Stone Memorial were Ellie Turner-Riggs and Phoebe Smith. The Stone duo won its opening match with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over Julie Thompson and Lily Wright of Livingston Academy.

Turner and Smith followed that victory with a three-set victory over Charlotte Paladin and Brynn Harvey of DeKalb County. Then they came up against Cooke-ville standouts Stranksy and Rohr, but lost 3-6, 1-6.

"Phoebe Smith and Ellie Turner-Riggs, they had a good first day," Nelson said. "We beat No. 1 Livingston Academy; and then we followed that up with a win against DeKalb County. They came out of nowhere to get in the semifinals.

"When I looked at their draw, I thought we would be OK. I think those two should be extremely happy with their result in this tournament."

Courtney Calhoun and Sydney Rally fared well for the Lady Panthers in singles play.

Calhoun opened the tournament in a three-set battle with Cumberland County Molly Neal. The score was 5-7, 6-4, 1-6 with Neal coming out on top.

Rally knocked off Upperman Kaitlyn Davis 6-0, 6-0. However, she lost her next match to White County's Marian Swindell by a score of 3-6, 5-7.

Neal lost her next singles match by a score of 2-6, 6-2 and 2-6. She fell to Cooke-ville's Sarah Williams.