The Flowery Branch girls tennis team rolled through its first-round match of the Class AAAAA playoffs Tuesday with a commanding 5-0 sweep of Chapel Hill in Flowery Branch.
Olivia Correa made quick work of the first set against Emma Jarrett in the No. 1 singles match with a 6-0 win. The second set looked to go either way, but Correa pulled out the win 7-5.
Annabelle Thomas, too, won her first set 6-0, but then pulled a 6-2 victory in Set 2 to dispatch Emily Austin in the No. 2 singles match.
Needing just one more victory from any of the other Lady Falcons to send the Panthers home and move on to the second round, Flowery Branch got its decisive win out of No. 3 singles player Peyton Brick.
Brick won 6-3, 6-0 to solidify the Lady Falcons would advance in the playoff push.
With the match in hand and first-set wins in both of the doubles matches, the coaches could have pulled the players off the court and celebrated their victory. Instead, coach Jackson decided to let them play out.
“A win is good and, of course, a 5-0 win is good because it gives confidence all the way down the lines,” Flowery Branch coach Ginger Jackson said. “The No. 2, they’re so competitive, those two are. They would have killed me if I had pulled them and not let them finish. It was very important for all five lines to finish.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Kylie McGuire and Marissa Barrett took the first set, 6-2, against Chapel Hill’s Bella Caricari and Carmen Winslett.
While the No. 1 doubles match continued to play out its second set, the No. 2 match finished up with Kaia Clark and Bailey Sims of Flowery Branch defeating Hannah Moffett and Destinee Watts 6-4, 6-1.
With players, coaches and parents from both teams and Flowery Branch’s girls soccer team watching on, McGuire and Barrett closed out the sweep with a 7-5 win in the second set.
“I wanted that No. 1 doubles to finish, even though they didn’t have to finish, with a win so we could take some confidence into the next round,” Jackson said.
The Flowery Branch players and soccer team promptly celebrated by singing “Happy Birthday” to McGuire.
Now, the Lady Falcons will wait to see who wins between Starr’s Mill and Harris County tonight.
Starr’s Mill, a No. 1 seed out of Region 4, has played for the state championship each of the last three seasons, winning it in 2013-14. The three years previous, it was knocked out in the Final Four, so Jackson is prepared to see Starr’s Mill.
“They’re a No. 1 seed, but we’re a No. 2 seed and could’ve been No. 1. It’s going to be who shows that day,” Jackson said. “I know they’re solid, but my boys team beat the No. 1 seed today. Any day, any team could be beaten. As long as we play good, that’s all I ask of my girls. Play hard, do the little things and you can’t be disappointed, no matter who comes out on top.”
If Starr’s Mill wins, the Lady Falcons will be on the road to Fayetteville Monday with a start time of 1 p.m.
FLOWERY BRANCH BOYS TENNIS MOVES ON WITH 3-0 SWEEP OF EAST PAULDING: Phillip Correa, Tucker Smallwood and the team of Dylan Klerlain and Jacob Holston all scored wins Tuesday against the top-seeded Raiders out of Region 5, putting the fourth-seeded Falcons through to the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
Correa won his No. 1 singles match 6-2, 7-6, with a 7-4 tie breaker, over East Paulding’s Tyler Willingham.
Smallwood’s win came in the No. 3 singles match (6-2, 6-0) over Brian Sanyaolu.
Klerlain and Holston took the No. 2 doubles match 6-2, 6-1 against Davis Edmondson and Wilson Marler.
The Falcons will move on to play the winner of the Union Grove/Columbus winner.