McMinn, Lions win girls’ tennis titles
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
PELHAM — Indian Springs School senior Erin McMinn, a two-time defending champion at the Shelby County girls’ tennis tournament, wasn’t going to give up her title without a fight.
When opponent Katherine Combs of Briarwood Christian School took the first set 6-2, McMinn didn’t panic. McMinn responded by winning the second set 6-4 and clinched the No. 1 singles’ championship match with a 10-6 victory in a tie-breaker set to capture her third-consecutive title March 31 at the Pelham Tennis Center.
“I lost the first one and I kept telling myself, “I can win this,” McMinn said. “I tried to stay positive.”
McMinn knocked off Combs in the No. 1 singles’ title match, but it didn’t keep the Lions from capturing their third team championship at the Shelby County girls’ tennis tournament in four years.
Briarwood Christian, which racked up 45 points, captured four singles’ titles and one doubles’ championship in the tournament. The Lions edged second-place Oak Mountain, which won three singles’ and three doubles’ titles, by 10 points. Thompson, which had a record number of players in championship matches with five singles’ players and one doubles’ team in the finals, finished third with 23 points.
Briarwood Christian coach Chris Laatsch credited the Lions’ group of five seniors, which includes Combs, Susan Jordan, Catherine Jordan, Holly Brazeal and Melanie Siddle, for winning the team championship.
“Our five seniors were focused and ready,” Laatsch said. “They were on a mission.”
Brazeal defeated Rian Imwalle of Oak Mountain 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to capture the No. 3 singles’ championship. Catherine Jordan topped Kathryn White of Pelham 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 4 singles’ championship match.
The Lions’ Olivia Odom defeated Maci Hendrix of Thompson 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 5 singles’ championship match. Lauren Bowers of Briarwood Christian edged Olivia Sorrell of Thompson 7-5, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles’ championship match.
Catherine Jordan and Bowers defeated Hendrix and Sorrell 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 3 doubles’ championship match.
Oak Mountain won three singles’ championships.
The Eagles’ Ashley Ochsenhirt defeated Erin Hutter of Thompson 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles’ championship match. Carter Tomlinson of Oak Mountain defeated Anna Conn of Thompson 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 7 singles’ title match.
Laurel Reeves of Oak Mountain captured the No. 8 singles’ championship following her 6-1, 6-3 win over Courtney Foster of Thompson in the title match.
The Eagles also won three of the four doubles’ championships.
Imwalle and Katie Gould of Oak Mountain defated Katie Kema and Sydney Garner of Pelham 6-3, 4-6, 10-5 (tiebreaker) in the No. 1 doubles’ championship match. Samantha Fredrick and Ochsenhirt of Oak Mountain defeated Brazeal and Odom of Briarwood Christian 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 2 doubles’ title match.
Tomlinson and Reeves of Oak Mountain topped Siddle and Laura Nowell of Briarwood Christian 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 4 doubles’ championship match.
Pelham, which had one singles’ player and doubles’ team in a championship match, came in fourth with 18 points. Indian Springs finished in fifth place with 11 points with only one singles’ player in a championship match. Chelsea came in sixth with three points. Westminster finished in seventh place and didn’t win any matches.