• P.K. Yonge Tennis Ousted in 1st Round of Regionals

    By Cliff Olsen, Sun Correspondent


    Published April 12th, 2011

    Jazz Whittaker

    The P.K. Yonge girls tennis team got off to a good start against Jacksonville Trinity Christian in Tuesday’s Class 1A, Region 2 first-round match at The Joyce Oransky Tennis Center at Westside Park.

    The Blue Wave opened with easy wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles for the early lead.

    However, the Conquerors responded to take four of the final five matches to post a 4-3 victory and end the Blue Wave’s season.

    “The start is what I expected, but I definitely did not think things were going to transpire this way,” P.K. Yonge coach Robert Taylor said. “My hat is off to Trinity Christian. They played a great match and they picked up the wins they needed to in a close contest.”

    Jazz Whittaker rolled Julia Jackson, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and Kiah Turner followed with an equally convincing 6-0, 6-1 win over Kathryn Jackson at No. 2 singles. At that point, the Blue Wave were enjoying the 2-0 cushion. That was before Trinity Christian’s Gracie Carryl got by seventh-grader Darby Townsend 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5 singles. Samantha Powell followed by defeating sixth-grader Madison Sagas, 6-1, 7-5 at No. 4 singles to deadlock the match.

    Jazz Whittaker and Turner then needed just 24 minutes to knock off the Jackson sisters, 8-2 at No. 1 doubles for the 3-2 edge.

    P.K. Yonge, which topped Trinity Christian in the first round in 2009 and in the second round a year ago, finished the season at 9-5. The Conquerors advance to Thursday’s second-round match.

    But the momentum swung in favor of the Conquerors (11-2), when Danielle Powell outlasted Zari Whittaker, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. The Powell sisters then downed Zari Whittaker and Sagas, 8-5 at No. 2 doubles to clinch the match for Trinity Christian.

    This was the fourth straight year the Blue Wave have reached the regional tournament and the first time in that span they did not advance to the second round. A year ago, P.K. Yonge advanced to the state finals for the first time since 1994 and placed fourth. Despite Tuesday’s setback, Jazz Whittaker, by winning a district title last week, earned an individual berth to the state tournament. Jazz Whittaker and Turner, state champs at No. 2 doubles a year ago, are also advancing to state by virtue of their district title.

    “I was disappointed,” Taylor said. “I thought on paper, I felt like we had the advantage, but today it didn’t work out.

    “We needed a little more experience at the back end of our lineup and in the next couple of years that will get better.”

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