April 26, 2013

State tennis: Dalton girls roll in first round

At some point, Dalton High School will have to update the sign outside of its tennis courts listing region championship teams so that it includes the 2013 girls squad.

Before then, the Lady Catamounts will try to earn one of the extra symbols attached to the years in which teams made a deep run in the state tournament — the quarterfinals, semifinals or the championship match.

The Lady Cats took their first step toward going from good to great among the legacies of their program’s past lineups with Thursday’s 5-0 victory against visiting Banneker in the opening round of the Class 4A state tournament.

Dalton (15-3), the No. 1 seed from Region 7, only needed a little more than an hour and dropped just three games — one in each singles match — on its way to beating the College Park school. The Lady Trojans (7-2) were the fourth seed from Region 6.

Dalton coach David Hilley, whose boys team breezed past Grady 5-0 in the first round of state on Tuesday, isn’t complaining about spending too little time on the court in the opening round.

“It’s nice to not have to worry the whole time what’s going to happen,” Hilley said. “I used to tell the kids, ‘When I first came here, I didn’t have any gray hair and now I do, but that’s because I’ve been here 11 or 12 years.’ It was nice to be able to relax today.”

Hilley expects the tests to be tougher immediately. Dalton’s boys will play their second-round match at 4 p.m. Monday at Madison County, while the Lady Cats will host Carrollton, likely on Tuesday, Hilley said. The winner advances to the quarterfinals.

“We can make it to the quarterfinals,” he said. “But the competition gets stiffer as we go along, so we’re going to have to play better the next round and even better than that if we get through them.”

Pleasant temperatures might have played a part, but the Lady Cats — let alone Hilley — didn’t do much sweating as No. 1 Courtney Morton, No. 2 Kara Pendley and No. 3 Anna Grace Wilson each picked up a 6-1, 6-0 victory in singles play against Banneker.

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