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Gainesville girls tennis fall in second round of playoffs

POSTED: April 26, 2012 10:23 p.m.

The Gainesville girls tennis team will look back on this season as a growing experience after a 3-2 loss against North Atlanta on Thursday at Longwood Park ended their season in the second round of state playoffs.

No. 1 doubles team Morgan Mercer and Suzanne Smith and No. 2 doubles team Mandy Wuest and Lauren Carter both had wins for the Lady Red Elephants.

The match was tied at two individual matches apiece, leaving all eyes on freshman Georgia Summer as the deciding match for Gainesville. Summer was a set down, but put up a fight to keep the Lady Red Elephants in the match. After almost two hours of constant battling, Summer fell 7-5, 7-6 to Ariana Abayomi, ranked No. 36 individually in the state.

“I knew it would come down to this match,” coach Kellie Stevens said. “(Summer) plays in tournaments all the time and she is a very experienced player.

“North Atlanta’s singles players were incredible, but Georgia stepped up. Some matches I feel we could have played better, but we all stepped up.”

This match marks the end of Gainesville’s season.

“Of course we are sad, because we were right there,” Stevens said. “But I am very proud they did the best they could.”

With losing just one senior, Wuest, from this year’s team, the Lady Red Elephants will have six returners next season, Stevens said.

“She has a very strong serve and has both experience in singles and doubles,” Stevens said of Wuest. “She was a big leader on our team.”

Gainesville advanced past the first round in state for the first time in five years under Stevens.

“I knew I had a strong team with very hardworking girls,” Stevens said. “We had a chance to go far, but we never took it for granted, especially being so young."

The young Lady Red Elephants will work hard to improve and gain experience, Stevens said.

“It’s a strong program to build on. They will all get better and get stronger throughout the offseason.”


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