Young, yet racquet dominant

FHS girls tennis team again reaches Division I-AA Sectional after controlling district, region

  • District and region champ FHS girls tennis team with head coach Gordon Cassity. - Photos submitted

  • Riley Cassity, district and region individual champion. - Photos submitted

The achievements of Farragut High School’s girls tennis team this season are numerous.

And very possibly not over.

After completing a perfect 12-0 District 4-AA record in the regular season, the Lady Admirals beat Bearden 5-0 to win the District Tournament Monday, May 9, at McFee Park in Farragut. Farragut then shut out West 5-0 to win the Regional Tournament at Tyson Park Wednesday, May 11.

The Regional win moved them into the Sectional round against perennial power Tennessee High — having beaten Farragut April 22 —Wednesday, May 18, at Tyson Park (after deadline).

“Tennessee High will be a very difficult match,” said FHS first-year head coach Gordon Cassity, who coaches both boys and girls. “We had two matches that were really tight and could have gone either way. We feel like we have a good shot at them in the Sectionals.”

A loss Wednesday shouldn’t detract from Farragut’s stellar season. The team is strong from top to bottom and hardly needs coaching, according to Cassity. Even better, he said, the girls’ character outshines even their on-court skills.

“We’ve got a really good group of girls,” the coach said. “I don’t have to do a lot of coaching. These kids are self-motivated. They work hard from the time they get on the practice court. I tell my girls ‘whatever level of tennis you reach will not determine your success in life because you’re all winners.’”

In singles this year, Cassity’s No. 2-ranked player Michelle Lin, No. 3 Bekah Graham and No. 4 Iris Yee all went undefeated. No. 5 Kate Morgan and No. 6 Shelby Smith lost only three matches between them.

“Very competitive from top to bottom,” Cassity said. “You have to be solid from your No. 1 through No. 6.”

Cassity has a unique situation with his No. 1 singles player: she’s his granddaughter, Riley, to whom he introduced the game as a youngster.

Riley Cassity has won 16 of 17 singles matches for the team this year, and beat Bearden’s Ayla Hauser for both the district and region titles in individual singles. She’ll play a state quarterfinal match at the Adams Complex in Murfreesboro Thursday, May 26,

Cassity’s only loss all season was to Hauser in team play during the district tournament May 9. Off the court, the two are good friends.

“They know all the other kids they play,” coach Cassity said. “The camaraderie between these players … after we won the district we had a pizza party for both teams. They’re all sitting out there making lifelong relationships.”

Next year could be even better for the Lady Admirals.

None of the top-six postseason players graduate in ’22 — and two promising eighth-graders are coming up. In addition, junior Alyssa Thomas, limited this year because of injury, should be at full strength.

“My top six could be challenged (by in-team competition) next year,” the coach said.