Rockdale girls tennis falls at Lambert

SUWANEE -- Unfortunately for the Rockdale girls tennis team, it didn't feel much like an opening round match Wednesday in Suwanee.

Lambert, the No. 2 seed from Region 7-AAAA, eliminated the No. 3 Bulldogs, 3-0 in the first round of the Class AAAA state tournament.

Lambert, which handled Rockdale 3-0 in last year's sweet 16 on its way to an appearance in the state finals, moves on to next week's second round. Rockdale had to settle for a 14-win season, which set the program record.

"Not necessarily a repeat of last year (second-round loss), but pretty dang close. They still have a good team, lot of seniors," Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said of Lambert. "Nothing to hang our heads about, we matched up with Lambert in the first round, state finalist last year, that's how it rolls. Tremendous season (and) we went out there and gave Lambert our best."

Jessica Owen defeated Bianca Brown at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2, though Sansing was impressed with Brown's play.

"Today was some of (Brown's) best playing even though she lost," said Sansing. "I thought she stroked the ball real well today."

Lambert wrapped up the victory with wins at No. 1 doubles, as Kealee Heffner and Taylor Lefton, who are both signed to play college tennis, knocked off Libby and Abby Bradford, 6-0, 6-0, and at No. 2 doubles, where Morgan Adams and Sydney Topper defeated Aliyah Byrd and Brooke Tryon, 6-0, 6-0.

At No. 1 singles, two of the top individual players in the state -- Lambert's Karlee Bryde and Rockdale's Summer Walker -- were locked in a battle before Lambert picked up its third win, which clinched the overall match and ended the No. 1 singles match prematurely. Bryde won the first set 6-3 (though Walker trailed at one point 5-0), and Walker was leading 3-0 in the second set when the match ended.

The Region 8-AAAA runner-up Rockdale boys will hit the court at the Rockdale Tennis Center for their first-round match today at 4 p.m. against Region 7-AAAA No. 3 Chattahoochee.