By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by KINDELL MOORE
MURFREESBORO – Ravenwood ran into a dynasty on Wednesday.
The Raptors finished second in Class AAA boys tennis after a 4-1 loss to Tennessee, which won its fourth straight title at Adams Tennis Complex.
“It’s a huge honor just to get here,” said Ravenwood’s Hayes Canupp, who beat Austin Henson 6-0, 6-4 at No. 4 singles. “Of course, we didn’t come out on top, but I’m still proud of this team. (Tennessee) has been good for years and they’ve just built a dynasty.”
Tennessee-Chattanooga signee Jacob Marshall of Tennessee defeated Cliff Herring 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1.
“It’s ridiculous,” Marshall said of the title surge. “It wasn’t easy. We played some really solid teams on the way all four years. Got Brentwood a couple times and Ravenwood a couple of times.”
The Raptors (12-2) also finished second behind the Vikings in 2015.
Fighting to the last point was the Vikings’ formula for success. Marshall said the Ravenwood score was misleading
“That was not a 4-1 match,” Marshall said. “That’s a 4-2, 4-3 match. This team, they knew what they were doing. They didn’t roll over. They were good players.”
Tennessee’s Steve Cozart beat Stefan Antic 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2.
At No. 3, Milligan signee Charlie Moseley edged Ravenwood’s Andrew Fitt 6-4, 6-7, 6-2. Fitt cramped badly during the match.
“That could have gone either way,” Marshall said.
Tennessee’s David Bieger downed Max McKeeman 6-3, 6-4.
“We gave them a real good scare,” Raptors coach Robbie McCammon said. “We played them a couple years ago and got slaughtered, so we’re getting there. They’re just super deep. Their No. 1 is solid and all the way down the line there’s really not many weaknesses.”
Tennessee coach Reedy Toney did a victory dance during a post-game celebration with his players.
“Look at these eyes. They’re red and there’s tears in them, and I’m an old man,” said the gray-haired Toney. “I say I’m in the fifth set of life or the fourth quarter or whatever. It’s been sweet.
“These seniors have never experienced losing at a state level. How do you explain that? If you were in football, basketball, baseball, it doesn’t happen. They don’t believe they can lose, so that really helps.”
Tennessee won its fifth state championship.
Ravenwood upset archrival Brentwood 5-4 in the District 11-AAA final en route to the state tournament. The Raptors avenged an 8-1 regular-season loss.
“Beating Brentwood was huge for us,” Canupp said. “No one thought we could even make it here.”
The Raptors won that title in the last match.
“We had a kid with two match points against him and he ended up winning and a kid who was down 6-1 in the super breaker and he ended up winning,” McCammon said. “It was kind of our day. High drama is right.”
Ravenwood blanked Siegel 4-0 in Tuesday’s semifinals and Tennessee did the same to White Station.