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Gainesville girls tennis falls to McIntosh 3-2 in 2nd round of state playoffs
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Gainesville's Katherine Wright hits a forehand in her singles match as Gainesville girls host McIntosh in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs at Longwood Park. - photo by Erin O. Smith

The hot start Gainesville High’s girls tennis team got off to on Tuesday at Longwood Park as it battled McIntosh High in the second round of the state playoffs was exactly what it was looking for. But, the Lady Red Elephants would eventually fall to the Lady Chiefs 3-2.

When the first three sets of the day ended, Gainesville held a 6-1 lead in the No. 2 and 3 singles as well as the No. 2 doubles matches.

As those two singles matches ended, with Haley Frankum winning the No. 2 match (6-1, 6-3) and Ali Waggoner taking the No. 3 slot (6-1, 7-5), the Lady Red Elephants looked like they would sweep the Lady Chiefs.

“We were up the first three sets,” Gainesville coach Kelli Smith said. “Two (singles), three (singles) and two doubles were up, so I thought we had it.”

From there, the No. 2 doubles fell in the second set 6-0, then 2-6 in the decisive third set.

The No. 1 singles match pitted Katherine Wright against McIntosh’s Carson Selleit.

The first set was a back-and-forth between the two, with each athlete picking up two games at a time. The set ultimately came down to a tie breaker, which Selleit won to take the first set 7-6.

The next set to finish came in the No. 1 doubles, evening up the overall match at 2-2.

Smith said she didn’t expect the overall match to come down to Wright, who was battling sickness, and the No. 1 singles battle after going up 2-0.

Selleit went on to defeat Wright 6-0 in the final set to send McIntosh on to the third round of the state playoffs, ending Gainesville’s season.

“It was a great match as far as competition,” Smith said. “She could have easily, I felt like if she wasn’t sick, been old Kat and won it in two sets.”

Having a comfortable lead early on made the final result a little harder to take for the Lady Red Elephants.

“Tough loss. They were beatable,” Smith said. “They’re very good, but very beatable, so it’s a tough match to swallow. Kat was fighting a bug. She was sick this morning and it came down to her. I didn’t think it was going to. I thought we had it when we were up 2-0. Needless to say, we didn’t.”

Smith said she was “very proud” of the girls, their effort and hard work, and the season as a whole. Now, the sights turn to next season.

Gainesville will lose Wright and No. 2 doubles player Sally Callahan next year as the two will graduate, but Smith is excited at the prospects coming up to help fill the voids.

“We’ve got some upcoming girls that will definitely add to the program and take the place of the ones leaving,” Smith said. “By no means will they take their place, but...we’ve got potential coming up.”