Pelham women finish shy of nationals

Two Pelham tennis teams advanced to the Southern Sectionals in Birmingham this week but fell short of the national tournament.

The 3.0 and 3.5 women teams both advanced to the finals of their division, but were unable to pull off the win to move on to nationals.

“Our team fought to the last ball,” Pelham 3.0 team captain Amber Lewis said. “We played very well and faced tough competition.”

The 3.0 women’s team came out strong with a 5-0 win over a Memphis, Tenn., team and beat teams from Kentucky and Louisiana by a 3-2 score.

“Caitlin Barker and Jamie Burk are great single players, and we kind of leaned on them through the tournament,” Lewis said.

The team moved into the finals by going undefeated in their grouping after defeating Arkansas 4-1. However they were matched by Knoxville, Tenn., who dominated Pelham, 5-0, to move on to the national championships.

“Tennessee was a strong team with a lot of the strong players including all of the backups,” Lewis said.

The 3.5 women’s team also played well in its division, losing one game in its group.

Pelham was defeated by North Carolina, 3-2. Team captain said she was glad of the team’s run through the season.

“It was great to win state and great for the teams to make the Finals here,” Lewis said. “ I think having sectionals in Birmingham eased the nerves for the teams, being able to go home each night had a calming effect.”

The men’s teams also had strong showings in the sectionals, but were a win away from making the finals.

Pelham’s 3.0 men’s team lost one of the four games in the first round, which stopped them from making the Finals. Tennessee, who finished runner-up in the sectional, was the team’s only loss.

The 3.5 men’s team suffered a similar fate by losing only one match in its group to Georgia. Georgia won the sectionals and will be playing in the National Championship.

The Pelham 4.5 women’s team began play July 30.