Warlassies force 1-game playoff to decide conference

Owen girls tennis team challenges Hendersonville for conference title

Fred McCormick

The Owen Warlassies finished the regular season strong, winning their final four matches, all against Western Highlands Conference opponents.

However, the team's 7-1 conference mark (9-6 overall) was not enough to claim the conference title outright, which forced a one-game playoff with the Hendersonville Bearcats at a neutral site on Oct. 18 (results not available as of deadline).

"We finished 7-1, and they finished 7-1. And we split the series with them during the regular season," head coach Chris Barcklow said. "So we have to play one to decide the conference."

The Bearcats handed the Warlassies the first conference loss of the season on Sept. 20 on the courts at Owen. The Warlassies, who lost to Hendersonville 5-4, returned the favor by earning a 5-4 win in Hendersonville on Oct. 6.

The Warlassies' Madison Devan returns a volley at home against Avery on Sept. 29. Devan and her doubles partner Camryn Bolick were winners against Hendersonville on Oct. 6.

"We fought to the end," Barcklow said. "We were down 4-2 after the singles matches were finished, but we won all three doubles matches when our back was against the wall. That's kind of been our style all year."

Six of Owen's final eight matches of the season were decided 5-4. The Warlassies came out on top in five of those matches. That stretch showed Barcklow that his team thrives in close matches.

"We like those close matches," he said.

Barcklow said he believes his team has an edge in doubles matches.

"One of our doubles teams won our conference doubles tournament," he said of the Oct. 12 tournament hosted by Avery. "Camryn Bolick and Madison Devan were the conference champions. The team they beat in the finals was another Owen team, Ashley Valencia and Jaiden Tweed. So we had two doubles teams in the finals."