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Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WINDSOR – A season of growing and learning began in an unusual way Tuesday.

Bertie High School’s varsity tennis team, which is the defending champion of the Northeastern Coastal Conference’s 3-A division, began the 2007 season with a tie.

Tuesday’s match with First Flight High School was suspended because of weather with the match tied at 4-all and the deciding doubles contest deadlocked at the same score. It was delayed due to weather conditions.

“This year is a rebuilding year for us and what I mean by that is we’re going to be winners, even if we lose matches because we’re going to work and get better at the skills that improve each player’s game,” veteran BHS Coach Jackie Copeland said. “Don’t get me wrong, my team wants to win, but I have told them that will come by the dedication to working hard every day in practice.”

The Lady Falcons are returning three seniors from last year’s squad in top-seed Holly Cowand, along with Megan Daniels and Erica Bazemore. Three juniors also dot the roster, including Courtney Dunlow, Kaitlyn Dunlow and Chelsea Dunlow.

Four sophomores n Jody Mizelle, Andrea Dunlow, Terri Lynn Smith and Sara Ballats n are also on the squad, along with freshmen Donna Mizelle, Whitney Castelloe and Sandi Todd.

As the Lady Falcons took the court Tuesday, Copeland noted the heat as a factor.

“Today’s game is hot for one thing,” she laughed, “so it’s going to be a challenge for both teams to play all the sets.

“I’m proud of my team because they’re playing hard even as hot as it is and that shows dedication,” she added.

Cowand, who enters her third season as the top seed on the club, won her match 6-2, 6-0 on Tuesday while Courtney Dunlow, the number two seed, secured a 6-0, 6-1 victory.

Bertie also got a win from Kaitlyn Dunlow, who took a 6-3, 6-3 win while Andrea Dunlow rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 7-4 sudden death win.

The winner for Tuesday’s match will be determined when Bertie travels to First Flight September 20.