Region 7-AAAAA Tennis Tournament

Woodland girls punch ticket to state playoffs

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The third-seeded Woodland girls eliminated Rome in the quarterfinals of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament, while simultaneously ensuring themselves of a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs.

Breanna Shook (6-2, 6-3) and Becky Wesley (6-2, 7-5) took care of business on lines 1 and 2, respectively. The Line 1 doubles pair of Eryn Gentry and Emma Savage rebounded from a first-set loss to earn a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win. Woodland pulled its other two lines with the victory assured.

The opposite situation played out in the semifinals later Wednesday at Rome Tennis Center, as Woodland fell to Carrollton by a 3-0 score.

“They played strong and only needed [lines] 1 and 2 singles and [Line] 1 doubles for the win,” Wildcats coach Beth Heath said of the Rome match. “Unfortunately, we had Carrollton in the second round. My girls played hard against a much better team.”

Woodland will face No. 4 seed Hiram in the third-place match at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Hornets defeated Cass in the quarterfinals by a 3-1 margin with the Colonels’ lone win a 6-0, 6-0 rout by Emily Surcey on Line 1.

Meanwhile, the No. 8 seed Cass boys defeated East Paulding in the play-in match before succumbing to top-seeded Carrollton in the quarters.

With Surcey just a sophomore and only one senior in the lineup, the Cass girls have a chance to make some noise in the region next year after finishing fifth this season.

Returning its entire lineup in 2020 is of little solace to the Woodland boys at the moment after the Wildcats dropped a tough 3-2 result to Hiram in the quarterfinals Wednesday morning.

Not surprisingly, Line 1’s Bryce VanOrder and Line 2’s Connor Gunnell made easy work of their singles opponents, as both eased to 6-1, 6-1 wins. Garrett Wesley and Mason Tucker forced a decisive third set but ultimately fell in their Line 2 doubles matchup.

“Sadly, the boys season came to an end,” Heath said. “Bryce and Connor had their typical wins at [lines] 1 and 2 singles. We just couldn’t find that third point again. … No. 2 doubles fought back and tried to make a match of it for us. We just came up short.

“I’m so very proud of all of these young men. They have had a pretty amazing season overall, and since none of them are seniors, I know they’ll come back stronger next year.”