CONYERS - For the Heritage boys tennis team, the Class AAAA quarterfinals were the end of the line Monday.
The Patriots (17-6) suffered a 3-0 loss to visiting Starr's Mill, denying the squad its second trip to the Final Four in the last three seasons.
"I'm proud of our guys. They worked hard and we had a good season," Heritage boys coach Chuck Landy said. "We just ran into one of the best teams in the state, that's all."
Going into the match, Heritage anticipated strong doubles play from Starr's Mill. The Panthers' doubles teams lived up to their billing, sweeping both matches in straight sets.
Heritage's Frankie Merkel and Erik Lauritsen lost 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, while Cody Provence and Trey Calcinore fell 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
The match ended for the Patriots when Jonathan Stone dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision at No. 1 singles.
"We knew their doubles teams were excellent because we've played them twice this season," Landy said. "They even changed some things up and they're still very tough. They're a very deep team, deeper than us. But we felt like we'd have some opportunities against them."
The Patriots had a glimmer of hope when Stone, down a set, took a 4-3 lead in the second set and Zach Landy, also down a set at No. 2 singles, rallied to win his second set 7-5.
"We had a chance when Zachary rallied to win his second set and Jonathan was up in his second set," Landy said. "If we could have won those two matches, I felt like we had a chance to win with Joey (Roppo) at No. 3 singles. I thought we came out strong early, but they just came roaring back and that was it."
Landy's match was halted with the junior up at 1-0 in the third set, while Roppo never made it out on the court.
Heritage boys were trying to join the Heritage girls in the Final Four, which is set for Friday at Clayton County International Park.
The Lady Patriots will face Glynn Academy in their semifinal match. It will start after the Class AAA semifinals conclude, at approximately 10:45 a.m.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.