If the Baylor girls' tennis players needed a shock, they got one pretty quickly Tuesday afternoon.
Facing rival GPS, the Lady Red Raiders dropped two doubles matches to fall behind 1-0 headed into singles, meaning they'd need to win at least four matches to clinch their fourth consecutive Division II-AA East/Middle region championship. They did that and then some, sweeping all of the singles matches for the 6-1 win on senior night.
Five seniors were honored after the match: Harper Caswell, Samantha Caswell, Maggie Crumbliss, McCall Morgan and Grace Petty. The core is a combined 62-4 in their high school careers, but Tuesday was only the second time since 2010 that Baylor had dropped a doubles point.
"I think we were probably a little too focused on senior night and not the actual match," Harper Caswell said. "We had some rough matches today, but I thought we were able to bounce back nicely after that."
The Caswell sisters, Crumbliss, Morgan and freshmen Ashton Jenne and Drew Hawkins claimed singles win for the Lady Red Raiders (12-1), who might not play another match again until the semifinals of the state tournament on May 20 in Murfreesboro.
"The reality is that GPS is a well-coached team and they don't like to lose," Baylor coach Dustin Kane said. "They're tough and they're going to do everything they can to get any advantage they possibly can. I think today was good for us because we know we have some things to work on."
GPS's doubles wins came from Michelle Fleenor and Jennie McBrayer at No. 1 doubles and Maddox Bandy and Danielle Simms at No. 2.
"It was really exciting for the girls. I had to remind them that this isn't the whole match, but we played really well at 1 and 2," GPS coach Sue Bartlett said. "I wanted them to enjoy the moment; we've had a tough schedule and a lot of really tough matches, and winning doubles was such a high point that I didn't not want to let them enjoy it.
"I do think we came back and played well in doubles, but I also know there are some positions where I know we can play better."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.