Photo by Heather Middleton
By Brian Paglia
There was little drama leading up to the boys' and girls' tennis Region 4-AAAA championship matches Tuesday, as the top two teams both reached the finals.
But, once there, the drama ensued.
Lovejoy entered the tournament as the favorite in both the boys and girls brackets, but Forest Park knocked off the Wildcats with a 3-1 victory, and Mundy's Mill upset the Lovejoy girls, 3-2. Both the Forest Park boys (11-1) and Mundy's Mill girls (12-2) lost to Lovejoy in the regular season.
That loss, according to Lady Tigers coach Lisa Ward, provided a chance for introspection. Ward said Mundy's Mill spent the weeks after its 4-1 loss to Lovejoy on March 28 diagnosing its shortcomings and eliminating them in practice.
"When [the team] went up against Lovejoy in the regular season, they weren't expecting what they saw," Ward said. "I told them they had to learn from their mistakes, remember how [Lovejoy's] girls played and remember what you need to do.
"They started working on some of the things, started strengthening their games."
Against Lovejoy, Mundy's Mill got wins at No. 3 singles from Erin Tate and No. 1 doubles from Aryn Ward and Chioma Ohuoba. That left the match in the hands of Brianna Leverette.
In the best-of-three games match, Leverette and Lovejoy's Kandyce Collins went to a decisive third game. Leverette pulled it out, 10-5, to seal Mundy's Mill's first region championship in tennis in school history.
"The girls look at it as being even sweeter," Ward said, "because they brought home the first tennis trophy to the high school."
ELCA come up short
Eagle's Landing Christian fell in the Region 9-A boys' tennis finals Wednesday. The Chargers lost, 3-0, to top-ranked Whitefield Academy.
ELCA (10-2) had won 10-straight matches going into the finals, including a win against Paideia in the region semifinals. Its only previous loss was also to Whitefield on February 15 in the Chargers' season-opener.
Drew girls back in
After ascending to the top of the Region 4-AAA standings and winning eight straight matches, the Drew girls' tennis team returned to the PrepCountry.com/GACA Class AAA Coaches' Poll at No. 10.
The Lady Titans (11-1) got play underway in the Region 4-AAA tournament Wednesday.