Cartersville's girls and boys teams both won 4-1 in their Thursday matches against Murray County, a Region 7-AAA foe, while Woodland took on Northwest Whitfield and the Wildcats won their first region contest, 4-1, and the Lady Wildcats lost a close one, 3-2.
"I think the hard teams -- like Walker and Carrollton -- helped prepare us and also gave our players some perspective," Cartersville head coach Melissa Moore said. "We are better for the variety of playing styles we have faced."
Moore said it also prepared them for adversity, such as a pulled muscle for Trevor Gotkowski, who plays at the No. 1 singles line. Gotkowski has missed both of Cartersville's region games and the team has made the necessary switches and is trying to not miss a beat.
"The team has pulled together very well," the coach said. "Nathan Slocum, our freshman, played his second region match at the singles line, and he's 2-0 so I'm really proud of him."
Moore said the girls also are stepping up to challenges.
"Darien DeFrench was down 1-4 in her first match [Thursday] and it was a matter of her switching strategies," the coach said. "She made her opponent move around, brought her up near the net and then sent her back. When Darien got her confidence back, she was able to get ahead and win the match. She's getting better and better."
She said DeFrench had a tough draw and was forced to play hard the whole evening. "She couldn't let up because of her opponent."
She said Mitchell Scott, who was moved to the boys No. 1 singles line, had to overcome adversity to notch his victory.
Scott won 5-7, 6-2 and 10-3 in the super tiebreaker.
She said Scott is a student of the game and wants to win. "He has dual enrollment at Georgia High and plays tennis. He's an all-around student athlete and is driven."
She said the senior had a tough draw and lost the first match but found a way to turn the tables on his opponent. "Mitchell knows how to dig deep inside and come out with a win."
She said Scott kept studying his opponent closely and starting playing on his weaknesses as the match continued.
Moore said Gotkowski attends matches and should return to action soon. "We're just letting him rest and we expect him back in action next week."
At the No. 1 singles line, Adrienne Green won 6-1, 6-0; at the No. 2 singles line, DeFrench claimed her victory, 6-4, 6-4; and at the No. 3 singles line, Maddy McGinnis fell 2-6, 1-6.
At the No. 2 doubles line, Ali Norwood and Mallory Walker took a 6-1, 6-0 victory while at the No. 2 spot Annabeth and Charleston Fox won, 6-4, 6-2.
The Cartersville girls improved to 7-1 overall while Murray County fell to 7-1 and 1-1 in Region 7-AAA.
The Canes improved to 4-4 overall and 2-0 in their region.
Cartersville next plays Tuesday, when it visits Pickens. The matches start at 4 p.m.
Woodland 4, Northwest 1
Woodland opened Region 7-AAAA play and notched a dominating win over Northwest Whitfield, 4-1.
"This is huge for us," head boys coach Kevin Tant said. "We've been preparing all season, playing the hardest teams in our region that we could schedule, and it showed in our matches.
"We've learned a few lessons along the way and kept thinking playing those teams would force us to improve. My boys really stepped up."
Woodland (3-6, 1-0) swept its singles matches and split in doubles play.
At the No. 1 singles line, Dustin Dodson defeated Ashmit Mittal, 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 singles, Corey Tobin overpowered Will Chesser, 6-1, 6-0, and Chase Still outplayed Garrett Masters, 6-1, 6-0.
At the No. 1 doubles line, James Lester and Brandon Rutledge defeated Dustin Montgomery and Triston Smith, 6-4, 6-1, while at the No. 2 line Bryce Webb and Grayson Roberts lost to Justin Sanders and Jacob Fredrickson 1-6, 0-6.
Northwest Whitfield 3, Woodland 2
The Woodland girls tennis team played a lot of close matches Thursday but came up just short against Northwest Whitfield.
The Lady Wildcats (1-8, 0-1) picked up one win each in singles and doubles play.
At the No. 1 singles line, Erin Marratta defeated Emma Jones, 6-0, 6-2, while at the No. 2 singles line Veronica Muncie fell to Gracie Cansler, 4-6, 2-6. At the No. 3 singles spot, Tinsley Wiley was outlasted by Sara Richards, 4-6, 3-6.
At the No. 1 doubles line, Susy Beltrane and Le' Arian Turner were bested by Valorie White and Sydner Wagner, 1-6, 4-6, while at the No. 2 doubles line, Erin Hill and Bailey Smith defeated Allie Wagner and Kalyn Tittman, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Woodland next plays Tuesday, when it entertains Sequoyah.