Nine Cherokee County tennis teams will begin their playoff pushes this week, as five girls teams and four boys teams made it to the postseason.
In Class AAAAAAA, both teams from Etowah and Woodstock made the playoffs, and while Etowah’s girls were the only group to earn a home match with their second-place finish in Region 4AAAAAAA, both Etowah teams will travel to Macon to meet Lowndes.
“We just like having our teams together,” said Etowah coach Virginia Diederich. “They’ve been able to do that pretty much all year at Towne Lake Hills. We have a lot of camaraderie with we can play together, and we think it will help both teams.”
The Lady Eagles were swept out of last year’s playoffs with a 3-0 first-round loss, but Leighann Morgan and Sophie Mnich are both back looking to build on that experience this year.
“It’s big,” Diederich said. “When you look at some of the teams we felt like we were better than last year, some of them went a lot further in the playoffs. A lot of people judge your season just off of that, so the girls are definitely motivated to go a lot further this year.”
The Eagles have seen plenty of turnover from last year, they are coming off a quarterfinal run, led by Josh Raab, who was playing top-line singles in the state championship match just two years ago.
Both Woodstock teams will have a long trip Tuesday, as they head to Colquitt County.
The Lady Wolverines got the third seed in Region 4AAAAAAA, but the experience of Alonna Wood, Gillian Bosko and Katelyn Hackett at the singles line and the doubles team of Lorelai Wood and Jessica Goodwin could give the Lady Wolverines a longer playoff stay this year.
“We’re very experienced,” said coach Jared Wallace. “When I took the job, one of the things we talked about was how frustrated the girls were with last year’s loss to Camden County. As good as we’ve been here, they’ve never made the elite eight, but I think they’re ready to try to change that this year.”
Woodstock’s boys will carry some momentum into their match with the Packers after beating Etowah for the third seed in Region 4AAAAAAA.
The Wolverines will rely on a mix of players, including a young singles group with freshman Ben Onufrock and sophomore Tyler Onufrock and Owen Wenzel, while seniors Ramon Elortondo and Matthew Sanchez lead the doubles teams.
In Class AAAAAA Creekview’s boys will be playing at home, though they may have the toughest draw of all.
The Grizzlies will get a visit from last season’s state runner-up Dunwoody, which will be a No. 3 seed again.
“Dunwoody is going to be a tough match up,” said coach Ed Walker. “They were state runner ups last year and they have not lost many players.”
Brice Trout is back at top-line singles after leading the Grizzlies to the second round a season ago, while Tristan Titus at No. 3 singles and the teams of Luke Brown and Sean King and Johnathan Thomas and Will Dowd will also be important.
For Creekview’s girls, who will travel to North Atlanta, Erin Kincade, Annabella Boyle and Jordan Ballard will each be counted on in singles play more this year than in seasons past as the Lady Grizzlies look to get by their second-round showing from a season ago.
River Ridge will also be sending both of its teams back to the postseason looking to replicate past successes.
The Lady Knights will host Northview, the same team that beat River Ridge 3-0 in the second round last year, though senior Katherine Lewis, along with Rebecca Latty and Emily Wilken in singles play, will lead a group coming back looking for revenge after its best region finish in program history.
On the boys side, Reilly Amason, Michael Marcheers and Diego Bancalari will lead River Ridge’s singles lines as they look to advance past the second round.
Sequoyah is the only school to send just one team to the playoffs, as its girls qualified for the fourth seed from Region 6AAAAAA.
The Lady Chiefs will travel to face last year’s state runner-up, Cambridge, but the singles group of Alana Neely, Ella Avery and Courtney Morris could give the Lady Chiefs the chance to pull off the upset.