Sweet 16 Bound Lady Braves (Back L-R): Makayla Red, Melissa Collins, Megan Jordan, Taylor Storey, Alexis Nelms, Katelyn Smith, Laurel Roberts (Front): Macie Taylor (Photo: Megan Anthony)
(Franklin, GA) — The Lady Braves tennis team narrowly defeated the Pepperell Dragons 3-2 Wednesday afternoon in Franklin to advance to the GHSA Class AA Sweet 16 next week.
It’s the second straight season the girls have advanced to the second round of the tournament and with a win next week they could make history by advancing farther than any male or female Heard County tennis team in the modern era.
The boys team fell 4-1 to a strong No. 4 seeded Dragons squad.
Head coach Rich Fendley knew Region 7-AA was a tough tennis region going in and he proved to be correct as they Lady Braves were the only team to advance to round two.
Region 7-AA won seven of the eight round one match-ups over their Region 5-AA opposition.
Leading the way for the Lady Braves in singles’ action were No. 2 Makayla Red and No. 3 Laurel Roberts. Both girls won in straight sets with Red coming out on top 7-5, 6-4 and Roberts dominating her Dragon opponent 6-2, 6-1.
In doubles action with the match tied at 2-2 and advancement on the line, the No. 2 doubles tandem of Katelyn Smith and Megan Jordan outlasted their opponent 6-2, 6-4 to secure the first round win.
The boys duo of Garrett Callahan and Hunter Clark got the lone win of the day for the Braves.
Fendley faced mixed emotions after a day that saw the season end for the boys, but he was very proud of the girls for pulling off what some considered to be an upset.
“Our guys just faced a tough challenge today from a really good tennis team — but they had a great season and were probably our overall the best boys team I have coached,” said Fendley.
“I am proud of our girls though for gutting it out and getting the close win to advance. We feel like we have a good chance to win next week and hopefully these girls can get to the Elite 8 for the first time.”
The Lady Braves will host the No. 2 seed from Region 3-AA Dodge County in round two next week with the matches slated for Tuesday at HHS (Time TBD). Dodge defeated Thomasville 4-1 to earn their spot in the Sweet 16.
The winner of the Sweet 16 match between the Braves and Indians would either travel to Screven County (No. 1 Region 4-AA) or would host Banks County (No. 3 Region 8-AA) in the Elite 8.