Unfortunately for Woodland, both teams will have to travel for the first round of state.
The Lady Wildcats were able to salvage their second match of the day to secure the third spot in the region, while the boys lost both of the team’s matches and will have to play the Region 7-AAAAA champion when the state tournament begins next week.
“We’ll go to state as the third seed. We were hoping for second. We went in seeded second. We wanted to come out in second,” Woodland girls coach Beth Heath said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end it, but we’re fine with where we’re at.”
At the singles No. 1 line, Erin Marratta lost 3-6, 1-6.
“Erin played phenomenally,” Heath said. “She really played some of the best tennis I’ve seen her play all season, but the little girl from North Paulding is really good.”
At the singles No. 2 line, Katie Abernathy was forced to retire with “a debilitating leg cramp.”
Somalia Lewis lost at No. 3 singles, 4-6, 4-6.
“[Lewis] played the same girl she played last time we played North Paulding and she lost 6-1, 6-1,” Heath said. “This time she stayed with her.”
At the No. 1 doubles line, Learian Turner and Susy Beltran won 6-4, 6-1.
“The last time we played North Paulding, my line 1 doubles played a 3 1/2 hour match and won it in a third set, so going out there and winning 6-4, 6-1 was very good,” Heath said.
The No. 2 doubles match was stopped when Abernathy retired, allowing North Paulding to advance.
Had Abernathy been able to win her match, Woodland likely would have won as the line 2 doubles team of Karlie Abernathy and Ashlyn Walker had won the first set of their match when it was stopped.
“We were depending on Katie and our doubles team to give us the three we needed,” Heath said. “It’s not the way wanted to lose to North Paulding, but it is what it is.”
However, the Lady Wildcats were able to bounce back and defeat Rome in the second match of the day for third place.
“We knew Rome was going to come out swinging because when we played them during the regular season, they were missing two of their starters,” Heath said. “Two of these girls that we played against, this was our first time seeing them and I had to change my lineup because I couldn’t play Katie in it.”
At the No. 1 singles line, Marratta lost 6-3, 6-0.
At the No. 2 singles line, Lewis filled in for Abernathy and won 6-2, 6-3.
“Somalia played very well in the region tournament. She has kind of struggled this season, and especially the last month, but she played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen her play today,” Heath said. “Her and Katie are good friends and she wanted to make Katie proud playing line 2, and she did. She made the whole team very proud of her.”
Alaina Ellis, filling in for Lewis at line 3 singles, lost 5-7, 3-6.
“Alaina is not a singles player,” Heath said. “She played singles for the first time ever, but she was my alternate because I could not change my lineup when you got into region tournament.”
At the No. 1 line doubles, Turner and Beltran won 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. At line 2, Karlie Abernathy and Walker won 6-0, 6-0.
“My doubles pulled out so many matches this season it’s incredible,” Heath said. “I have a lot of depth in my doubles. I have four very strong doubles players, and once again, they proved themselves.”
For the boys, Woodland lost 3-0 to Allatoona before falling to South paulding in the third-place match.
“The scores don’t adequately show the fight my players had in them, I might say too much fight because they looked exhausted in their next match versus South Paulding,” Woodland boys coach Kevin Tant said. “Point-for-point, we were much closer than the last time we played Allatoona, and I think we earned a great deal of respect from them considering how much our game had improved. I was very proud of the effort they put in.”
At No. 1 singles, Brandon Rutledge lost 3-6, 0-6.
Griffin Hale lost at the No. 2 line, 0-6, 5-7.
Meanwhile, Tanner Self and Skylar Henderson lost their doubles match, 0-6, 0-6.
The match was then called after Allatoona secured its advancement.
In the third-place match, Woodland lost to South paulding, 3-1.
“Although we were playing for the third or fourth seed, I wanted us to go into the match with the same fire they took to Allatoona,” Tant said. “At first, everyone seemed to be doing just that because Brandon already won the first set, Griffin was up 5-1, and my No. 1 doubles was just finishing their first set 6-1. At that point, some of the guys seemed to be a little gassed. They were still trying to fight but I think in the end, we were just tired.”
At the No. 1 singles line, Rutledge won 6-2, 6-0.
“The biggest exception was Brandon Rutledge who was hitting the ball so cleanly that his opponent didn’t recognize the player that he beat earlier in the season,” Tant said. “Without a doubt, I feel like Brandon was the hero of the tournament.”
Hale lost at the No. 2 singles line, 5-7, 3-6 and Roberts lost at No. 3, 2-6, 2-6.
Self and Henderson then lost in doubles, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (3-7).
“In the end, all of my guys played incredible tennis for two days and played their hearts out,” Tant said. “After a little bit of rest and a bit more practice, we look forward to whomever we play in the first round of state competition.”
Cass girls 3, Gilmer County 0
The Lady Colonels entered the region tournament undefeated, but still had to win one match in the tournament to qualify for the state tournament.
Cass was easily able to do that Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over Gilmer to move on to the region semifinals to take place Thursday.
At No. 1 singles, Ryleigh Lanham won 7-5, 6-0.
At No. 2 singles, Aleigh Beard won 6-1, 6-0.
Flower Nation and Morgan Mayton then won their doubles match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, to close out Gilmer.
The Lady Colonels are now officially in the state tournament and will advance to the region semifinals today at 11:30 a.m. to take on LaFayette.
Excel boys 4, Gordon Lee 1
The Excel boys tennis team’s next important match comes today against Walker, a match the team needs to win in order to qualify for the region tournament.
But first, the Eagles played a tune-up match Wednesday against Gordon Lee and looked good as they won 4-1.
“[Gordon Lee] was fairly weak, but we dont have that many weak teams on our schedule,” Excel coach Mark Hibbard said. “The boys needed this win as a vote of confidence because [today] they play Walker.”
At line 1 singles, Cade Archer won 6-3, 6-1; Sam Kirkland won at the singles No. 2 position, 6-0, 6-0; and Simon Morris won at the singles No. 3 position, 6-0, 6-1.
Michael Serris and Vince DaCamara lost in doubles No. 1 play, 4-6, 6-4, 9-11, while John Berry and Tyler Demmers won, 6-3, 6-1, at the doubles No. 2 line.
“It was a good win on the No. 2 doubles,” Hibbard said. “They played good tennis.”
Gordon Lee 3, Excel girls 2
The Lady Eagles already have locked up the No. 3 seed in the region.
As a result, Wednesday’s match against Gordon Lee was nothing but target practice for the Lady Eagles, but it did result in a 3-2 loss.
At the singles No. 1 line, Miriam Hibbard lost 4-6, 4-6; at the singles No. 2 line, Callaway Ford lost 1-6, 2-6; and at the singles No. 3 position, Tessa Thornborough won 7-5, 6-2.
At the doubles No. 1 line, Caroline Moore and Taylor Vaughn won 6-0, 6-1, while at doubles No. 2, Sarah Bradley and Dianna Davison lost 3-6, 2-6.