Backs to the wall, Wildcat netters find a way to win
by Staff Report
Mar 06, 2014 | 818 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Woodland boys overpowered Villa Rica, 4-1, to pick up their third win of the season when two singles players came from behind after losing their first sets in high school tennis action Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Woodland girls doubles teams doubled up on Villa Rica and that was enough to earn them a 3-2 victory when a singles player won her match.

Wildcats 4, Villa Rica 1

Woodland picked up a win against Villa Rica but it was not easy as the Wildcats led in their doubles matches but trailed at all three of their singles lines after one set.

Kevin Tant, head coach, said two of his singles players kept battling and both ended up coming from behind to grab Woodland a 4-1 victory.

“I think the key really was tenacity,” Tant said. “You have to have the will and drive to continue even though you may be ready to throw in the towel. You have to keep playing like you are going to win.”

Tant said he had discussed with his team how playing with confidence is an important component of winning.

“We talked about staying in a match and how you have to believe you can pull it out even when you may not believe it strongly yourself,” Tant said. “But if you do a lot of the time you find you get one extra ball and suddenly find yourself on the other side.”

The coach said both Woodland players held up their end of the deal to get the wins.

“Skylar Henderson played the match of his life at line 3 singles,” Tant said. “He would tell you he’s not comfortable playing singles but his play showed otherwise.

“After losing the first in a tie break, he fought back and was able to pull out the match. He played out of his mind, running all over the court.”

Tant said it was a physical challenge as well as mentally challenging.

“They started at 5:30 p.m. and ended around 8 p.m.,” he said. “It was the longest match I’ve seen in the couple of years I’ve coached at Woodland. They were hitting hard and all over the place. It was an incredible match.”

Tant said Brandon Rutledge, who was playing at the singles line No. 1 position, held up his end of the challenge even though he doesn’t normally play there.

“Dustin Dodson, our usual singles No. 1 player, wasn’t available today and we had to shift some people around to make the lines work.”

Rutledge won at the singles No. 1 line, defeating Bryan Bush, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Dustin Coffey lost to Trey Farmer at the singles No. 2 line, 2-6, 3-6; and Henderson defeated Noah Smith 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4 at the singles No. 3 line.

At the doubles No. 1 line, Grayson Roberts and Griffin Hale beat Andrew Bush and Adam Nelcus, 6-2, 6-2; while at the doubles No. 2 line, Tanner Self and Hartley Tuplin recorded a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Zac Goss and Tristan Sharpton.

Woodland improved to 3-0 with the victory and is 2-0 in its region. It is scheduled to play North Paulding today.

Lady Wildcats 3, Villa Rica 2

Beth Heath, head girls tennis coach, said her doubles teams began helping the Lady Wildcats win last year and that success has been carrying over into this year so far.

“Our doubles teams once again played well, and that let us get a close win again,” Heath said.

Winning at the doubles No. 1 line were Suzy Beltran and LeArian Turner, who defeated Jessica McKinley and Marissa Sitton, 6-1, 6-1. At the doubles No. 2 line, Karlie Abernathy and Alaina Ellis schooled Summer Rand and Nancy Nalley, 6-3, 6-2.

Katie Abernathy picked up the third victory by defeating Dani Brewer, 6-4, 6-2, at the singles No. 2 line.

Erin Marratta fell to Shelby Brown, 3-6, 4-6, at the singles No. 1 line while Somalia Lewis came up short against Michela Holloway, 4-8, in a pro set.

Woodland improved to 4-0 overall and is 3-0 in Region 5-AAAAA.

Heath said Woodland hasn’t started its season with four straight wins in some time.

“It’s a good sign, although I wish the wins were stronger than 3-2,” she said. “But a win is a win right now.”

Heath said Woodland’s doubles teams are playing up to their potential.

“Once again my doubles teams are pulling these matches out for us,” she said. “They are just jelling. They know what to do and they’re smart. I have to give them credit for that.”

The Lady Wildcats next play today when they host North Paulding. The matches are expected to start around 4:30 p.m.