In many ways, the story of Scotland’s number one-ranked tennis player Charlotte Laurent mirrors the path that the 2012 varsity tennis Scots journeyed this season.
After sitting out all of last year with a foot injury which required surgery, Laurent returned to become the top-ranked player on a Scotland squad that had hopes of finishing second in the Southeastern Conference. But like Laurent, the Scots exceeded all expectations this season to finish as co-conference champions with Pinecrest, the first time they’ve accomplished this feat since 2006.
But last Tuesday, it was revealed that Laurent had suffered a stress fracture in her leg during a recent match against Purnell Swett, which she would nonetheless finish and win. Laurent would even win the conference doubles tournament last week with partner and number three-ranked player Leslie Floyd, besting Pinecrest twice in the process.
Her leg injury would linger, however, and in the first round of the 4-A state playoffs against Sanderson Tuesday afternoon, Laurent would be forced to bow out early in her match. It would be the first of six consecutive singles losses for the Scots, as they fell 6-0 to the Spartans out of Raleigh.
Though the storybook season for the Fighting Scots ended in disappointing fashion, it created lasting memories for many of the seniors on the team to carry with them after graduation.
“This season was completely successful, and more so than I could have asked for,” Laurent said. “I’ve worked since my freshman year to help this team win a conference championship, and to make it happen in my senior season is something I’ll always remember.”
“It was great to see the school hang our conference championship up in the new gym,” said Kaylan Ellis, the fourth-ranked player on the Fighting Scots. “Overall it was a great season, and to leave my senior season as part of a #1 team means a lot to me.”
It was certainly a year of firsts for the Fighting Scots this season, who also beat Pinecrest in a regular season match two weeks ago for the first time since 2007. That match, which saw Scotland narrowly edge the Patriots 5-4 at home, was the highlight of the year in the eyes of the team.
“That day was definitely the high point of this season,” said Ellis, who defeated the Patriots’ Brittany Jenkins via a 10-7 tiebreaker in the third set of that match to force a 3-3 tie heading into doubles play. “We were determined to win, and once it got to a certain point in the match, we all started believing that we could beat them. All of our hard work paid off that day.”
The Fighting Scots would simply run out of steam on Tuesday afternoon, as they faced a 30-player Sanderson roster that has several girls on the team that play year-round. Entering the match, Scotland was a number-one seed in the state playoffs, while Sanderson entered the tournament as a wild card.
Because of Laurent’s injury, the Scotland tandem of Laurent/Floyd are disqualified from the regional tournament that will kick off at Terry Sanford High School this Friday at 2:00 p.m. However, Scotland’s number two-ranked player Munroe Buie will be making the journey, as she made it to the conference tournament finals last week before losing to Pinecrest’s Caroline Decker who may be the best player in the entire Southeastern Conference.
Regardless of Buie’s performance going forward, Scotland varsity coach Jeanne Roller believes her team went above and beyond their goals entering the season.
“I didn’t think we had a shot at first place in our conference this year, I thought we would be in a battle for second,” Roller said. “We may have lost in the playoffs today, but we truly had a great season and I’m very proud of each and every one that played on this team.”