The Heathwood Hall Highlanders clinched a SCISA Region I-4A title last week with a win over Hammond. Then they finished region play with a perfect 8-0 record by edging the visiting Cardinal Newman Cardinals 5-4 Tuesday, September 27.
Adair Wood got the Highlanders on the board first downing Cardinal No. 5 Addy Mustian 6-0, 6-0.
Heathwood Hall No. 6 Julia Claire Cooke followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Taylor Laubacker.
The Cardinals fought back with Caroline Timmons’s 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles over Mary Frances Iseman. Timmons used a couple of forehand winners, an ace, and a crosscourt drop volley to take the final game.
Heathwood Hall No. 4 Sophie Hughes then finished off Isabel Camps with a backhand lob taking her match 6-4, 6-0 to give the Highlanders a 3-1 lead.
Cardinal Newman No. 2 Ella Fallaw cut that deficit to 3-2 beating Maddie Clary 6-4, 6-3. Fallaw made a leaping backhand overhead volley to win the first set.
Heathwood Hall No. 3 Abby Mullins finished singles play with a running forehand crosscourt volley to down Madeleine Thoma 6-4, 6-3 and give the Highlanders a 4-2 advantage going into doubles play.
Doubles play has been a challenge for Heathwood this year, and head coach Nick Gaffos said he couldn’t remember using the same combination of players all season. To make matters worse, he was forced to remake his lineup when one of his doubles players had to leave early.
Cardinal Newman head coach Jim Hinson’s doubles teams are a work in progress as well. He believes the region is pretty evenly matched, and doubles could be the deciding factor—if not for first place then spots three through four and beyond.
His No. 1 team of Timmons and Thoma beat Clary and Mullins 6-3, 6-0 to cut Heathwood’s lead to 4-3.
However, Hughes and Wood put the match away for the Highlanders winning 7-5, 6-2 at No. 3 doubles over Mustian and Laubacker. Hughes’s crosscourt forehand winner gave them a 6-5 lead in that tight first set. Wood got a running forehand volley to clinch the set. Mustian and Laubacker took the first game of the second set, but it was all Highlanders after that.
Cardinal Newman’s Fallaw and Camps beat Iseman and Cooke 6-3, 6- 4 at No. 2 doubles to conclude the match.