Prep Tennis: Lady Cougars repeat as region champs; Indians finish 2ndFrom Staff Reports
Newnan High tennis coach Hap Hines might as well have been at Drake Stadium during a state football playoff game on Wednesday.
Even though it was just the Region 2-AAAAA tennis tournament, the two-day event at Richard Craig Park in McDonough ended with a “pressure-cooker” that included as much tension as any high school sporting event.
Returning only a couple of starters from last year’s title team, Newnan managed to recapture a top seed in the upcoming Class AAAAA state tournament for the second consecutive year.
Emma Fuchs and Lollie Davis held on in their best-of-three set match 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to knot the match with Westlake at 2-2 and the Lady Cougars’ No. 2 tandem of Abbie Gordon and Ciara Wood clinched the title with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 victory.
“It was like that Grayson-Newnan (football) game,” said Hines, referencing the Cougars’ 2009 football quarterfinals victory that ended on a blocked field goal in the closing seconds. “That championship match was as tense as I’ve ever seen. I’m just real proud of these girls.”
East Coweta’s boys also did itself proud by pushing defending champion Westlake to the brink in a 3-2 loss. The Indians also swept doubles matches and John McGraw took an opening set at No. 3 singles before the Lions were able to complete the title victory.
Meanwhile, Newnan’s boys and East Coweta’s girls won respective third-place matches. The Cougars dominated host Luella 5-0 getting help from freshman Stewart Rand’s win at No. 3 singles. Mikey Miller won his match while moving up to the No. 2 position as Hines rested starter Landon Goolsby.
The Lady Indians defeated Newton 3-2, getting singles wins from Taylor Heinz and Alexanndria Shell and a doubles victory by Atera Williams and Rachel Weimorts. Heinz’s 6-4, 6-4 win was the deciding match.
All four county lineups now advance to the Class AAAAA state tournament, with matches beginning the week of April 23. Region 2 qualifiers will face teams from Region 1-AAAAA in south Georgia with both Newnan’s girls and East Coweta’s boys hosting opponents for the first round.
The Lady Cougars head into the state tournament with a 18-3 record after going undefeated against 2-AAAAA opponents this year. It’s at least the third straight year that both Newnan’s girls and East Coweta’s boys have advanced to the state level.
On Wednesday, Carly Griffies provided the Lady Cougars’ other victory against Westlake at No. 2 singles. Caroline Davis, at No. 3 singles, had her undefeated 2012 record snapped in a 6-4, 6-3 loss while No. 1 player Gray Griffies fell in a second-set tiebreaker.
The Indians battled in their loss, which included a pair of victories in doubles. At the No. 2 position, Daniel Murillo and Moises Escobar held off their Westlake opponents 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 after dropping their first set. East Coweta’s top tandem of Saeyun Lee and Jun Yang earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
McGraw also fought in his match at No. 3 singles, falling 7-6 (7-3), 0-6, 1-6 while the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles players Jack Coffy and Matt Byers fell 5-7, 1-6 and 1-6, 1-6, respectively.