SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 ISSUE

WHS Junior Accomplishes Golden Set in Tennis Match

Watauga junior Shannon Herndon is playing the No. 1 singles spot for the third consecutive season. "I was really nervous the first few matches (as a freshman) and then I settled in," she said. "There’s a little bit of pressure (being No. 1)."

Going through a set without losing a game isn’t new to Shannon Herndon.

The Watauga junior has accomplished that on multiple occasions.

Never, though, had she won a set without dropping a point—until recently.

Herndon accomplished the “golden set” in a recent match.

“Baseball no-hitters are rare, but a golden set is probably more rare than a no-hitter,” coach Terry Hartley said.

With the atypical achievement on the line, Herndon changed her game slightly.

She felt a little tenser as she won point after point.

“It was really nerve-wracking toward the end because you don’t want to make a mistake and then you get tight, which is what you shouldn’t do because that leads to mistakes,” she said. “I just started pushing it back, trying not to make mistakes. I didn’t go for very much.”

She isn’t the first Watauga player to pull off the “golden set.”

Anna Lee Evans, now a senior at the College of Charleston, who won the state title in 2006, also had a golden set during her high school career.

Last year, Herndon was a couple of games into a set when she realized she hadn’t lost a point. A little later, she lost the chance at the “golden set.”

She didn’t this time.

“I guess I had it in the back of my mind after the first few games, that I hadn’t made a mistake yet,” she said. “When it’s 4-0 you start to think about it.”

And that’s when she tensed up a little. It didn’t matter, though, as she got the elusive “golden set.”

“I really wanted to get it,” Herndon said.

Instead of watching his No. 1 player accomplish the feat, something Hartley had never seen happen in his many years of being around tennis, he was busy coaching other players on the school’s team.

He wasn’t alone in missing the feat, as Herndon’s parents were out of town and missed the match, one of the few they’ve ever missed.

They may have another chance, as Herndon still has this season and next year to play for the Pioneers.

“She has a great attitude and is very teachable and very coachable. She’s dedicated to her game,” Hartley said. “Tennis is really her passion and will probably be her ticket to college…I’d classify her as an all-court player. She can come to the net, hit from the baseline. She looks to take a short ball and put her opponent under pressure by coming to the net.”

So far, she’s led the Pioneers to a 6-1 record overall, including a 5-0 mark in conference play.

Herndon has only dropped one match this season, to MayaBlue Stauffer-MacDowell of Asheville’s T.C. Roberson.


What Is a Golden Set?

If a tennis player wins a set (six games) without dropping a point, it is called a “golden set.” The player would have to win 24 consecutive points to achieve the mark.

How rare is a golden set? According to multiple websites, there has only been one in professional tennis history. American Bill Scanlon earned the mark in a February 22, 1983, match against Brazil’s Marcos Hocevar in the first round of the WCT Gold Coast Classic at Del Ray, Fla. Scanlon won the match 6-2, 6-0.


Watauga High School Upcoming Girls Tennis Matches

Thursday, September 24 vs. Hickory