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By KEVIN KELLY
The Kentucky Enquirer
LEXINGTON – Notre Dame senior Madie Cook won the state tennis championship in girls’ singles on Saturday (May 19), and the Pandas just missed out on two more state titles.
The team championship between Notre Dame and Lone Oak came down to the last of the five matches played during the late afternoon at the Boone Tennis Center.
The Lone Oak tandem of senior Elizabeth Skinner and junior Erica Rust won the third set of their No. 1 doubles match against Notre Dame senior Alyssa Kennedy and junior Catriona Shaughnessy to clinch a 3-2 team victory. It was the third match of the day for Kennedy and Shaughnessy, who played to a three-set loss in the doubles championship against the defending state champions from Sacred Heart.
“Singles, doubles and team—how can you be disappointed?” Notre Dame coach Rob Hardin said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. We did everything we had to do—the conditioning and the practice and the planning. We got to that point, but we just didn’t get over the hump in the team match.”
The tournament’s top seed, Cook defeated third-seeded Rose Hill junior Kennedy Womack in straight sets (6-4,6-4) to win the singles championship.
The Ninth Region singles’ champion this season, who has signed to play tennis at Saint Louis University, did not lose a set in the six matches she played in the singles tournament. She also played two singles matches in the team competition.
In the championship against Womack, Cook stormed back from 0-40 in the final game and won on the third match point.
“I was just like, ‘OK, if she wins this game, it’s going to be five all, then it’s going to be even longer,’ ” she said. “I was getting pretty tired. I just wanted to end it there.”
After shaking her opponent’s hand, her teammates, and the Pandas’ mascot, charged the court to congratulate her.
“I feel great for Madie,” Hardin said. “It’s a pretty emotional win for her. She’s been working for this for four years.”
Cook also came from behind to win her semifinal match, 6-3, 6-4, against Highlands freshman Maredith Laskey. Making her fifth state tournament appearance, Laskey took 2-0 leads in both sets before Cook stormed back.
“That was probably just her wake-up call,” said Laskey, the 10th Region singles champion this season. “She didn’t give me anything, really. She kind of kept it tighter and she got focused.”
Like Cook, Kennedy and Shaughnessy played in eight matches during the tournament.
In the doubles championship, they faced the top-seeded tandem of Katherine English and Caitlin Hanley from Sacred Heart. Kennedy and Shaughnessy won the first set, 6-1, but English and Hanley regrouped and won the final two, 6-2, 6-3, for their second consecutive state title.
Their match in the team championship was the last of the five (three singles, two doubles) to be decided, and thus became the tiebreaker. The Notre Dame duo lost the first set, won the second, and lost 6-4 in the third.
“It was tough going out because it was going to be our third match of the day and eighth match of the weekend,” Shaughnessy said. “Getting down 0-3 (in the first set) was rough, but we knew we could fight back. We just tried to put it all on the line. I wish it could have turned out better, but we gave it all we had.”
Cook, Kennedy, Shaughnessy and Laskey were named to the Girls’ All-State Team.
--Reprinted with the permission of The Kentucky Enquirer
EDITOR’S NOTE: Madie Cook is the daughter of Keith and Allison (True) Cook, Edgewood, Ky. Her maternal grandparents are Bobby and JoAnn True, Bedford. Paternal grandparents are Grover and Betty Cook, Cold Spring, Ky.