Decatur, AL—Marion Military Institute's Stella Fedele was the odds-on favorite to capture the Alabama Community College Conference's MVP Award. After all, she had comfortably won all of her conference matches while losing fewer than a handful of games.
But Central Alabama Community College's Kallie Beall didn't roll over and play dead in the finals; she played her best tennis of the season and executed her game plan to perfection.
In the end, though, it still wasn't enough to derail Fedele, who fought through an uncharacteristically erratic backhand and mounting first-set errors to claim the coveted prize at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center in Point Mallard Park.
"Stellar Stella wasn't her usual stellar self today," said MMI coach Charles Wright, "but attribute that to Kallie Beall's strong and smart play. Beall played a tremendous match and, in the first set, matched Stella stroke for stroke. It wasn't until the tenth game of the match, with Stella serving and holding for the set, that things started to turn Stella's way. From that point forward, Stella picked up her play and surged to the 6-4, 6-2 win."
Fedele's patented one-handed backhand, a lethal weapon of deadly precision and consistency, began to home in in the second set and take its toll on Beall.
"Stella is nothing if not a fighter," Wright said. "She doesn't have what you would call elegant ground strokes. She is tenaciousness personified. She'll just clock every shot and drill the ball into submission. Once she adds guile to her repertoire, she'll be an even more dominant force than what she already is. She's simply a tremendous competitor."