Rockdale tennis sweeps first round matches

— It was a clean sweep for the Rockdale tennis teams Tuesday in Conyers. The No. 1 seed Bulldogs defeated Douglas County in both girls and boy’s play in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament. The boys, 3-0 winners, won a state playoff match for the first time in the program’s history, while the girls advanced to the round of 16 for the second time in three seasons after a 3-0 victory.

“It’s very neat for both of them to do it. It just speaks to the kids in the program,” said Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing. “We feel like we’ve been ready for this. To me, winning the first round validates what kind of season you had. When you win that first round (match), you had a good season.”

The girls, who have won 15 consecutive matches since losing to Heritage in late-February, made quick work of Douglas County, the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAAAA, thanks to strong singles play. Junior stand out Summer Walker got things started with a straight set, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Rachel Owart. Walker dropped the first game of the second set, but bounced back to take the final six games.

At No. 2 singles, Ciara Chesser was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Cecily Jones. The Bulldogs sealed the first round win at No. 2 doubles where Abby Bradford and Destiny Commodore bested April Davis and Aliyah Pettway, 6-1, 6-1.

“Summer’s played awesome all year, Ciara’s played awesome all year and the pairing of Destiny and Abby has been really good, too,” Sansing said. “We felt we could come out and win with those three.”

The boys, who had lost in the first round the previous two seasons, got stronger as the day went on. The No. 1 doubles team of Bruce Mitchell and Collin Shamley won the first game 6-3, then the second, 6-0 over Matt Camp and Patrick Murphy, while the No. 2 doubles team (Abenet Addisu and Chris DaSilva) won 6-4, then 6-0 over Andrew Teal and Andrew Heatherton.

Rockdale’s No. 1 singles player, Patrick Sanders, defeated Brandon Ashiedu, 6-2, 6-2.

“(Winning at the state tournament) was definitely on their mind all year,” Sansing said of the boy’s team. “They wanted to be the first boys team to win at state. That’s awesome.”

Both Rockdale teams, which were each coming off the first region championship in school history, will host second round matches on or before April 30. The girls will play the winner of Region 1 No. 2 Colquitt County and Region 4 No. 3 Harrison, while the boys will entertain the winner of Region 1 No. 2 Coffee and Region 4 No. 3 Harrison.