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Tennis tourney: Then there was one
Heritage boys only local team alive in Region 8-AAAA

DANIELSVILLE - After the first day of the Region 8-AAAA tennis tournament, the Heritage boys are the only local team left standing.

The Patriots, the defending region champions, wrapped up another trip to the state tournament with a 3-0 victory over Loganville in the 8-AAAA quarterfinals Thursday at Madison County High School.

Heritage advances to play Dacula in the semifinals at 4 p.m. today. The championship match is set for 7:30 p.m.

In all, the Patriots dropped just four games before wrapping up the victory, thanks in large part to strong doubles play.

Jacob Zirbel and J.J. Ramsey gave Heritage a 1-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 2 doubles.

Blake Craft and Brad Hardin pushed the advantage to 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles.

Zach Landy, at No. 2 singles, wrapped up the victory for Heritage with a 6-0, 6-2 decision.

At No. 1 singles, Heritage's Jonathan Stone was leading 6-1, 4-1 when the match was called.

"Today was the one that we had to win. By winning today, we guaranteed ourselves at least three matches," Heritage boys coach Chuck Landy said. "We went out there and played well. Both of our doubles teams looked good today. I thought all the way across the board the first four groups we had out there served really well today. We spent time working on it the past couple days, so it looked like it paid off.

"Absolutely, we're looking forward to tomorrow; it's going to be fun. We've got Dacula first and we had a great battle with them last year. Hopefully, we'll find a way to beat Dacula and be playing in the championship match."

The Heritage girls, the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAA South, saw their bid for a state berth denied in a heartbreaking loss. Winder-Barrow won 3-1 as all four matches went to three sets.

Stephanie Humphries put Heritage in front 1-0 with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 2 singles.

At No. 1 doubles, the Heritage team of Christine Harper and Liz Forrester dropped a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 decision to tie the match at 1.

Heritage's Taylor Maloney suffered a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 loss at No. 1 singles, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage.

At No. 2 doubles, in probably the best individual match of the day, Heritage's Keeli Smith and Amanda Voyles fell 4-6, 6-4 7-6 (7-5) as Winder-Barrow closed out the victory. Smith and Voyles rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third set to take a 5-4 lead before heading to the tie breaker.

In the tie breaker, the two doubles teams managed to win only one of the 12 points on their own serve, but it gave Winder-Barrow a 6-5 lead. The Lady Bulldogs won the next point on Heritage's serve to claim the match.

The loss was even more heartbreaking for the Lady Patriots because Callie Alford was already leading by a set at No. 3 singles.

The Rockdale boys and Salem girls also had byes as the No. 2 seeds from 8-AAAA South, but neither squad could capitalize on their good fortune. The Bulldogs lost 3-0 to Winder Barrow, while the Lady Seminoles fell 3-0 to Habersham Central.

The Alcovy boys beat Madison County 3-2 in the first round, getting wins from Kyle Jackson at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1; Brandon Tisdale at No. 2 singles 7-5, 6-3; and Zach Bowers and Aaron Fowler at No. 1 doubles 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In the quarterfinals, the Tigers lost to Habersham Central 3-0.

The Eastside girls also advanced out of the first round, beating Clarke Central 3-1. Qeiarra Johnson posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles, Allison Miller added a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles and Sierra Petree and Hailey Jones wrapped up the win with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 decision at No. 1 doubles.

In the quarterfinals, the Lady Eagles fell 3-0 to Madison County.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.