Jefferson tennis coach Michael Paul will not soon forget the back-and-forth battle that his lone senior Tristan McGarity pulled out for a victory Wednesday on Senior Night against Rabun County.
It wasn’t the fact that McGarity won that will stick in Paul’s mind — she’s done that all season with a 9-0 record for the Lady Dragons, who carry the No. 1 seed into the Region 8-AA tournament next week.
What was so memorable is that she battled back for a tiebreaker win in the first set and came from behind in the third for a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 win that, when all was said and done, seemed to take all afternoon in Jefferson.
Though Paul didn’t keep exact time on the match, he knows it was very close to the three-hour mark. According to Paul, McGarity was not feeling well during the match because of the high pollen count, but conserved enough energy to outlast her opponent.
“It was a Herculean effort on Tristan’s part,” Paul said. “It just shows how much desire she has and was able to reach down to find something extra to finish.”
The match for McGarity was highlighted by long rallies and conservative shots to keep the ball in play. After McGarity won the first set despite trailing by a point early on, her rally attempt in the second fell just short.
Even though the match was already running long with the match tied, the two players were forced to finish since it was a region match.
Paul says that McGarity’s impact on the team has been strong all year after missing the first two matches with basketball season not yet complete. Jefferson’s No. 1 singles player is the only senior on a team that starts three freshmen.
“Tristan’s been an anchor for us all season,” Paul said.
Jefferson, 7-0 in region matches, opens play in the Region 8-AA tournament at noon on Wednesday in Jefferson.
BIG BASEBALL MATCHUPS: Gainesville controls its own destiny in Region 8-AAAAA, but with two huge series left in the regular season, winning the title will by no means be an easy task. Tonight, the Red Elephants (17-2, 9-1) get their first crack of the season at Loganville (18-2, 9-1) in Walton County, then the two squads play the second game on Monday in Gainesville.
Following that two-game series, Gainesville proceeds to face Flowery Branch (13-8, 8-4) twice next week.
The region title in 8-AAAAA will likely be decided between Gainesville and Loganville, while Winder-Barrow (14-4, 9-3) and Flowery Branch are in the driver’s seat for the other two playoff spots.
The Falcons greatly helped their chances of making the playoffs with a 7-6 win in nine innings against Winder-Barrow on Wednesday in South Hall.
In Region 7-AAA, the region title will be decided likely by the winner of the Buford/North Hall matchup on April 19 in Gainesville. The Wolves and Trojans split the first two this season, both winning on their own home field.