The Oconee County Lady Warrior and Warrior tennis teams picked up key region wins Thursday, as both got tough-fought wins on the road in Gainesville. The wins completed a sweep of the Red Elephants for the second time this season.
The Lady Warriors and Warriors also boosted their region records to an identical 10-0, with two key region matches remaining. closes regular season region play next week with a critical match against a very talented West Hall team on Monday, before hosting their final regular season region match on Tuesday against Monroe Area.
For the Lady Warriors, dominant singles play at the one, two and three positions helped the Lady Warriors edge the Red Elephant lady netters squad 3-2. Jordan England, Katy Kane and Caroline McElhannon all produced decisive victories in singles to overpower Gainesville and keep the Lady Warriors perfect in region play. The talented Lady Warrior trio gave up a total of just four games enroute to the singles sweep. The win also boosted the Lady Warriors overall record to 12-2 or the season.
Freshman Jordan England led the way at number one with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Brinkley Frankum. Sophomore Caroline McElhannon, playing two, blanked Martha McKinnon 6-0, 6-0 and sophomore Katy Kane completed the sweep at number three as she breezed past Georgia Summer 6-2, 6-1. Both doubles matches were extremely close and ended in third set tiebreakers, with Gainesville picking up the remaining wins there. Kimberly Case and Macy Bird were edged out by Morgan Mercer and Suzanne Smith 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 at number one singles. Megan Morris and Ivy Do, playing number two doubles, also lost a heartbreaker to the sister duo of Mady and Meghan Wuest by a final score of 3-6, 6-3, 1-0.
The Warrior boys got wins at number one and two singles and both doubles to land their 13th win of the season versus one loss. First off court with a Warrior win were the doubles team of freshman Dan Madden and sophomore Hunter Pritchard, who dismissed Jake McCardel and Alexander Davis 6-4, 6-1. Will McDonald and Sam Ondo, who have switched at the number one and two singles positions all year, both hung on in tough fought matches to outlast their Red Elephant counterparts. McDonald, playing number one against Gainesville, cruised 6-1 in the first set, but then had to hang on versus Conner McMorrow to fight off a second set opposing rally before finally moving the Warriors within a point with a 6-4 second set win. Ondo, a senior, clinched the match and Warrior win at number two with 6-3, 6-4 win over Austinn Miller, but like McDonald had to scrap and fight to nudge his feisty Red Elephant challenger. With the win sealed, Zach Miner and Drew Horsely also hung on on pull out a three set comeback tiebreaker win over Jake Mattox and Graham McKinnon by a final count of 7-6, 4-6, 1-0. Number three singles player Conner Smith played very well against a tough Jackson Goble, but fell 6-2, 6-3.
After the win, freshman Drew Horsley noted, "We stayed enthusiastic throughout the entire match and pulled each other through. We all played really well and feel like our team support system is tight. It was a big win since it was Gainesville and because it was region and the big rivalry we have with them."
Horsley's doubles partner, sophomore Zach Miner, added, "I felt we did really good overall and won. I feel like we have really strong doubles and a lot of matches come down to the doubles points. It's great to have a strong doubles team at one and two, as well as a good singles lineup. It's always great to play with these guys on the team and the top players are always positive. It's also good to have a great doubles partner like Drew. It's like Gruetter told us, in doubles you never both play 100% the whole time, so it is really helps to have a good partner there. He said that's what he's there for, to bring you back up, while you just keep doing your best and have fun while you're playing. I'm looking forward to playing again next week and hope we can play another good match then and with future teams. We feel like if we keep playing and improving like we have, we can get far."
The Lady Warriors and Warriors travel to West Hall Monday for a crucial late season region match.
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