The North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A girls tennis tournament at North Carolina Wesleyan in Rocky Mount on Saturday had a familiar ending for Cape Fear Christian Academy.
The Eagles were turned back, 5-1, in the championship match by Ridgecroft.
In the 2022 state final at Faith Christian School in Rocky Mount, CFCA was on the short end of a 5-1 score against Oakwood School.
Anna Jackson, Aubrey Jackson and Nina Sauer graduated from last year’s team, but the Eagles moved to 10-1 with a 5-4 comeback win over Oakwood on Tuesday, October 24, to reach the state final for the second straight year.
CFCA had beaten Ridgecroft, 5-0, last season in the state semifinals. The Rams topped the Eagles, 6-3, in a match this season at Chowan University.
Ridgecroft swept the doubles, which were played first on Saturday.
Courtney Butts won the Np. 6 singles Saturday for CFCA’s point in the team result. ELla John Dupree had won the first set in the No. 1 singles and was up, 1-0, in the second set when play was halted after the Rams had developed an insurmountable lead in the team scoring.
“I’m very proud of the girls effort,” said CFCA coach Page Jackson. “They kept fighting to the very end.
“Courtney Butts played awesome in singles, especially since she’s only been playing for about six months.”
Butts was an all-conference runner in cross country before transitioning to tennis.
“After losing four of our top eight from last year, we really didn’t expect to be back in the championship, but the girls worked hard all year to get us back to the championship match,” Jackson said.
Ella John Dupree is the only senior on the 2023 CFCA team.
“Ella John will be a huge loss for us,” Jackson said. “It has been an honor coaching such an incredible athlete.”