Doubles victory gives Gators city title

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

A full day of tennis came down to the final match in the 18th annual Julie Abraham Memorial Tournament Saturday at Halls Ferry Park.

Vicksburg’s No. 1 boys doubles team of Fritz Valero and Perry Tolliver rallied in the second set to beat Warren Central’s Stuart English and Jalen Dagher, securing a 6-4, 7-5 victory and the clinching point of the tournament.

Vicksburg finished with 10 points in the round-robin format, while Warren Central had nine and St. Aloysius five.

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The win was also a bit of redemption for Valero and Tolliver. They had lost to English and Dagher in a regular-season team match on Friday that came down to a third-set tiebreaker. English and Dagher’s victory there gave WC a 4-3 victory.

“We knew them better this time,” Valero said.

At the JAMT, Valero and Tolliver picked up their play. They won the first set 6-4. English and Dagher came back to grab a 4-3 lead in set two. Tolliver held serve to even the match at 5-5. The Gators then broke serve in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and set up Valero to serve for the match, which he won.

“They have kind of weird style that we had to figure out,” Tolliver said. “But today we played a lot harder.”

First-year Vicksburg coach Vickie Bailey changed her lineup for the JAMT, opting not to put a team in the No. 2 doubles slot. She will make another change Wednesday for the Division 4-6A singles and doubles tournament at Halls Ferry Park. There, Bailey will team her two top singles players, Donald Brown and Christine Figueroa, in mixed doubles for the Class 6A draw. Figueroa won the Class 4A girls doubles title with her sister, Catherine, last year in Madison.

“I think they have a chance to do really well,” Bailey said.

Figueroa dropped only two games to win the JAMT girls singles crown. She beat St. Al’s Ashley Piazza 6-1, 6-0 in her last match.

Brown, meanwhile, had a much tougher time in his singles final. He fell behind St. Al eighth-grader Austin Mathis 3-1 in the second set. He changed tactics by going more to the net and won five straight games to win 6-3, 6-3.

“That kid is going to be good. He’s only in the eighth grade and I knew I couldn’t just serve and volley with him. I had to press him when I got down 3-1,” Brown said.

Vicksburg got two points from its No. 1 girls doubles team of Amanda Guizerix and Charlene Figueroa. The pair won both of their matches 6-1, 6-1.

The win in the two singles and girls doubles gave Vicksburg a big early lead but Warren Central came roaring back to tie the team points race at 9.

The Vikings’ No. 2 girls team of Bailey Howington and Jill McVan got two points, beating St. Al’s Breanna Beesley and Victoria Mekus 7-5, 6-2. Vicksburg conceded its match.

WC also won both the No. 1 and No. 2 mixed doubles. Shelby Claire Liddell and Parin Bhitka won in No. 1 with the key match being a 4-6, 6-0, (10-3) win over St. Al.

In No. 2 boys doubles, there was a three-way tie. WC’s Robert Rhett and Jesse Tillotson were awarded first place based on net games won.

Contact Jeff Byrd at