With her second set against Charlotte Country Day’s Avery Hunter tied at 5 on Saturday, Oct. 27, Alexandra Lee looked up from her court at Charlotte Latin and saw all of her teammates rooting her on. At that moment, Lee understood that Providence Day’s fourth consecutive N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A title rested squarely on her shoulders.
“I looked up and saw my whole team,” said Lee. “I knew I had to bring the team back up after that happened.”
Earlier in the match, the Chargers took a 2-1 lead entering the singles portion of the title match against rival Charlotte Country Day, thanks to a pair of doubles wins: The duo of Samantha Light and Linley Busby beat Kelsie Grice and Lara Handelsman, 8-1; and Lee and Emma Pixley teamed to top Addi Huneycutt and Avery Hunter, 8-3.
Providence Day extended its lead to 4-1 after Light (6-2, 6-0) and Busby (6-3, 6-3) earned singles wins to give the Chargers the 4-1 advantage.
Charlotte Country Day, however, came roaring back, winning the next three singles matches to knot the championship at four wins apiece.
Then, it was up to Lee.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” Busby said of watching Lee’s match. “I couldn’t watch. It was so scary. I kept putting my head down.”
Lee rallied to win the next two games and won the final set, 6-1, to give the Chargers the 5-4 win and their fourth consecutive title.
Providence Day coach Ryan Harper knew his team would be in for a “battle” when the Bucs advanced to the finals, as the Chargers’ pair of 7-2 wins over Country Day were the Bucs’ only two losses of the year.
“Then, when you put it down for a title, all that stuff goes out of the books,” Harper said.
The coach also was impressed with his team’s ability to win such a close match. The Chargers only surrendered four points in their three previous state championships, winning 7-2 (2009), 9-0 (2010) and 7-2 (2011).
“They haven’t really faced any tough matches in a while – not only this year, but even last year and years before – where they had to be like, ‘This set is for the match,’” said Harper, whose roster also included Jenna Comisar, Peyton Montgomery, Kelsey Peterson, Mollie Sandler, Mallory Young, Sharon Maskin, Katie Starr and Izzy Gallant.
“For them to come through as a team and pull that through, in sort of a new situation, was really exciting.”