Lady Ad rallies out of 2 big holes; frosh Faulkner wins state again

MURFREESBORO — After fighting back from a 4-0 deficit in the second set of the Division I-AA girls tennis singles state title match, Farragut sophomore Riley Cassity zoomed ahead 6-5 in games — and was just two points from a state title after winning the first set 6-4 Friday, May 27.

But mis-hitting an easy kill shot near the net at 30-30 of game 12, Cassity saw Grace Stout of Ravenwood use that mistake to eventually tie the set 6-6, then cash in the momentum to go ahead 3-0 in the second set tiebreaker (first to seven points, win by two).

However, the Lady Ads sophomore rallied from way behind a second time, claiming seven of the last eight points to capture the state crown 6-4, 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker) at the Adams Tennis Complex.

“Lindsey (Stimets), my coach on the court, was a big help. She was like, ‘it’s OK, just calm down,’” said Cassity, who lost just one singles match all season. “And seeing my friends, who were also winning next to me, was really inspiring to be like, ‘everything’s OK, you can come back.’

“It’s a great moment,” added Cassity, as her FHS coach is her grandfather, Gordon Cassity.

“She took it one point at a time,” coach Cassity said. “She’s been working hard for 10, 12 years now.”

Freshman Faulkner repeats

Playing like a senior — but only a freshman, albeit an experienced one — Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Allie Faulkner repeated what she did as an eighth-grader.

Despite some physical issues to overcome, the freshman swept past Aleyla Wooten of St. George’s 6-2, 6-2 to win her second straight Division II-A singles state title Friday.

“It’s just chills right now,” said Faulkner, whose only singles loss all season came versus Knoxville Catholic junior Maeve Thornton, who was repeat singles champ in II-AA (see story staring on page 1B).

“I’ve gone through an injury from last week, so being able to play here is just amazing,” she added with vocal emotion.