Donna McCarthy recalls being surprised and impressed when members of the University High boys tennis team met with her in January.
“The boys came to me and said they were going to win the state title,” McCarthy, the Cubs’ first-year coach, said. “They weren’t going to accept anything less. That definitely changed the way we looked at things. It was still about practice and matches during the regular season. But there was always, ‘Remember what you said you’re going to do,’ thrown in. And they made it happen.”
The U-High boys won the Division III team title and UHS girls placed third during the final portion of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Tennis tournament completed in Monroe late Friday.
University was not the only Baton Rouge area success story. Ascension Christian freshman Bryce Walker won the Division IV singles title, also Friday in Monroe.
Walker avenged a regional loss by beating Ascension Episcopal’s Brandon Abdella 7-6, 7-5 to win his first individual title.
“When I played (Abdella) the week before at regional ,he beat me 6-4, 6-2,” Walker said. “This time I had a better day. My serve was really on, and overall I played a lot better. But I was surprised when I won. It was a great match … a great feeling and I didn’t expect it. I went out and tried to play my best.”
U-High had two singles runners-up. Maggie Dabadie finished as the runner-up to Gavriella Smith of Lusher Charter in the girls division, while Nelson Stafford was the runner-up to Lusher’s Zachary Smith.
The UHS boys doubles team of Carter Crutti and Robert McDuff advanced to the semifinals.
The Cubs finished with 10.5 points and won the boys title ahead of Lusher with 8.5 and Menard at 7.5. St. Louis Catholic won the girls team title with 11 points. Menard at 8.5 and University at 6.5 followed.
McCarthy praised her three-member girls teams for coming so close to the runner-up trophy. Two seventh-graders, Mary Dabadie and Emerson Stafford, advanced to the doubles quarterfinals.
The duo is the younger siblings of U-High’s singles players.