Rosser surprises field in CPC tennis tourney

Published 8:25 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

If you guessed Cat Rosser would finish third and qualify for regionals … well, your name is probably Cat Rosser.
Rosser was 5-0 while playing the fifth and sixth seeds for Davie’s tennis team during the regular season, but she had not played singles since Sept. 7. In the last nine matches, there was no Rosser in the singles lineup. (She did play in five doubles matches during that time.)
So who knew Rosser would make the most noise for undefeated Davie in the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament at Mt. Tabor on Oct. 12? Nobody knew, but here was Rosser winning three of four matches and earning a regional berth. (The top four in singles and doubles advanced.)
“It was unbelievable,” coach Collin Ferebee said. “I originally was going to have Cat and Gabby Thompson play doubles together, but Gabby got a foot injury and couldn’t play. I said: ‘Cat, you want to play singles? You’re probably going to get a seeded player in the first round. Would you like to try it just to get some experience because I think you’re going to play a lot next year?’ She said: ‘Yeah. OK, sure.’ And then she goes and does this. She wasn’t even supposed to be there.”
In the first round, Rosser was matched against the No. 3 seed from Reynolds, Sarah Rhoades. An undaunted Rosser squeezed out an 11-10 victory. In the second round, she faced West Forsyth’s No. 4 player, Delilah Caldwell. Rosser triumphed 10-7.
After losing 10-5 to Reagan’s Robyn Bartlett, Rosser faced teammate Whitney DeLoach in the third/fourth consolation match. DeLoach was sporting a 14-2 record, but Rosser added to her improbable success, winning 6-1, 6-3.
Talk about a lineup with a lot of juice. Davie went 14-0 in the regular season, and it has an 8-1 player who couldn’t crack the top six unless injuries or sickness created a spot.
“Whitney was the only player all day to win any games against Sam (McEachran of West Forsyth), so it’s not like Whitney was not playing well,” Ferebee said. “All the other coaches saw the draw and were like: ‘(Rosser’s) going to cause problems.’ If you put Cat in a match, she’s got a fighter’s chance. She is not going to go down without giving it everything. She’s a sweet, quiet girl, but when you put her in an athletic contest, she’s going out to win. I don’t know how she does it because she seems so passive.”
Has a non-starter from Davie ever qualified for regionals? Probably not.
“If it’s happened, it can’t be very often,” Ferebee said. “That goes to show that no one person won us a match this year. When you have depth like this, you’re going to win a lot of matches. Everyone from 1-9 has won multiple CPC matches.”
DeLoach, a senior, earned her first regional berth by winning 10-1 and 10-5 in the first two rounds. In the semifinals, she lost 10-3 to McEachran, who has overwhelmed everyone in the CPC. In the singles final, McEachran won 6-0, 6-0.
Sophomore Tru Koren won 10-7 and lost 10-5. She finished her season with a 9-7 record while playing two and three.
Freshman Elliot Newsome and junior Leslie Newsom advanced by finishing third in doubles.
After receiving a first-round bye, they remained unbeaten by whipping Reynolds 10-3. They lost 11-9 to Tabor’s Meg Salt/Ella Rose in a showdown that figured to be a tight battle. In the first meeting between them, the Davie duo won 9-7.
In the third/fourth match, Newsome/Newsom won 1-6, 7-5, 10-4 over Reagan’s Lydia Berger/Ashley Belnap. Newsome/Newsom improved to 9-1 as Newsom will make her second appearance in regionals.
Junior Sarah West Marklin and senior Abby Fletcher won 10-6 over Tabor and lost 10-3 to Reynolds. They went 5-2 at two and three doubles.