Woodland tennis defeats Rockmart on road

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Woodland’s boys and girls tennis teams are young this season and both got off to a good start by claiming road victories at Rockmart on Thursday.

The Wildcats defeated the Yellow Jackets 4-1 while the Lady Wildcats took their season opener by that score as well.

Wildcats 4, Jackets 1

Head boys coach Kevin Tant said Rockmart often competes at state in tennis, and he welcomed the chance for his players to compete against a quality opponent to open the season.

“Our team was ready to play against an opponent so we were pleased to have this opportunity,” Tant said. “Although we won 4-1, we won two tie-breakers, and without those victories, it could easily have turned out with them winning.”

Tant’s team won both of their doubles matches and took their loss in singles play.

At the singles No. 1 line, Woodland’s Griffin Hale lost 2-6, 5-7; while at the singles No. 2 line Alex Banta won 7-6, 7-5 in the tie break and 7-5. The Wildats also picked up a victory at the singles No. 3 line as Andrew Pierce dropped his first match 4-6 but came back to split with a 6-4 win in the second match. Pierce took the super tiebreaker, 10-8.

At the doubles No. 1 line, Woodland’s Albert McKnight and Blake Bottegal lost their first match, 4-6, and came back to win the second match, 6-3, and the super tiebreaker, 10-5.

At the doubles No. 2 line, Jared Roberts and Max Costlow won their first match, 6-1, and second, 6-2.

Tant said he was pleased with the victory.

“We opened our season with one of the most challenging matches we could have,” Tant said. “We had to come back twice after splitting sets in two lines of our matches. We had super tiebreakers in two of our four wins and could easily have lost.”

He said he was pleased also because he has a lot of young players stepping up for their turn to represent the team.

“We lost so many great players from last year,” he said. “Most of my lineup were players who were on the team last year but didn’t play every match.”

He said Rockmart provided the challenge he wanted his team to experience.

“Rockmart has been to state many times,” he said. “We knew if we could hang with them, we’d be in pretty good shape for the season.

“I was especially proud of Alex Banta and Blake Bottegal. They are both sophomores who played some amazing tennis against Rockmart.”

Lady ’Cats 4, Lady Jackets 1

The Lady Wildcats also got off to a good start in Rockmart, claiming a 4-1 victory.

Beth Heath, Woodland head girls tennis coach, said she is fielding a young team, including three sophomores at the singles lines.

“This was a great way to open our season,” Heath said. “We have a young team and need to start with a little confidence. We’re tickled to death to start the season off with a win.”

The Lady Wildcats won all three contests at the singles line and split at the doubles line.

At the No. 1 singles line, Christy Turner, a sophomore who started at the line as a freshman, won 6-0, 6-0, while at the No. 2 singles line Gloria Gore duplicated her success with a pair of 6-0 victories as well.

At the No. 3 singles line, Deanna Dodson won 6-2, 6-1.

The Lady Wildcats won at the No. 1 doubles line as Ashlyn Walker and Sadie Westberry earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory, while at the No. 2 doubles line, Kaylee Salter and Chandler Still narrowly fell 6-7, 6-7 as they lost two tiebreakers.

Woodland returns to the nets on Feb. 23, when its teams host South Paulding after the winter break.