Oxford tennis faces familiar foe

prep_icon_greenBy Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Kara Rose played her final home tennis match Saturday at Avent Park.

The Oxford senior’s exit was bittersweet. She tasted victory and experienced sadness.

“I’m definitely going to miss (tennis),” said Rose, who turned down a scholarship to play for Meridian Community College. “My last match ever will be in the state championships.”

Rose, who joined McClellan Davis to defeat Saltillo’s Ellie White and Anna Hutchinson 6-1, 6-2 in doubles, is the lone senior starter on the six-time defending state champions.

The Chargers (20-0) won the North Class 5A championship with a 7-0 victory against the Tigers (7-6).

Oxford will play a familiar opponent, Stone County, Wednesday at the Ridgeland Tennis Center in the state team finals. The Chargers have beaten Stone the last two seasons in the finals.

“We want to keep the streak going,” Rose said. “The pressure is there. You want to be able to win.”

Oxford coach Louis Nash is confident his team has what it takes to win a seventh championship trophy.

“This is as good as we’ve been,” he said. “We’re only losing Kara Rose. We’re young and we’ve got a bunch coming up.”

Rose isn’t sure what court she’ll play in Wednesday’s championship match. In individual state play, which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, she is paired with Cole Atkins in mixed doubles.

“We will find out the morning of the match,” Rose said, then smiled.

In Saturday’s other matches: Quinn Elliot d. Payton Pearce 6-1, 6-1; Amanda Lowery d. Beth Brinkley 6-1, 6-0; Sarah Nash/Claire Stevens d. Toni Byars/Shelby Bickes 6-1, 6-0; Will Swindoll/Bo Nash d. Will Swann/Ben Dyer 6-0, 6-0; Gus Morgan/Emily Morgan d. M.J. Hilbert/Katey Gardner 6-2, 6-0.

Atkins and Ryan Mounce won their doubles match by default.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com