April 25, 2014

The ride’s not over

Undefeated Colts gallop to next round in 3A

VARNELL — After watching two teammates roll to victories early in Thursday’s tennis match against White County High School, Coahulla Creek No. 2 singles player Chase Lynch was able to ease his mind a little.

Being able to work through the soreness in his shoulder was what made his tennis better.

The junior rallied from a 6-3 loss to Logan Slay in the first set to sweep the last two sets, 6-1, 6-3, and earn the clinching team point as the Colts remained undefeated through 20 matches with a 3-1 win in the first round of the Class 3A state tennis tournament.

“It was a little bit of jitters, but my shoulder has been bothering me, and it took me a little while to get it warmed up,” Lynch said. “I started to gain confidence with everything, and I started looking at the game a little differently. I knew the rest of my team had this, so I tried not to put any pressure on myself.”

Lynch’s victory followed a 6-0, 6-2 win for No. 3 singles player Alex Jarjoura over Levi Etris and a 6-2, 6-1 win for the No. 1 doubles team of Donovan Newby and Austin Turner, who beat Page Kent and Micah Houghton.

Coahulla Creek, the Region 5-3A champion, is scheduled host Atlanta’s St. Pius X on Monday in the second round, but a time has not been set. St. Pius X, the No. 3 seed from Region 6-3A, advanced with a 3-1 win over North Oconee.

Thursday’s win was the first state tournament victory in boys tennis for Coahulla Creek, which opened in 2011. The Colts reached the state tournament last season but lost 3-0 to Oconee County in the first round.

All of the players from last year’s team returned, and Jarjoura said last year’s finish to the season has been a driving force.

“It was our first time being on the state level, and we didn’t know what it took,” Jarjoura said. “It was a good experience and helped us. There is always going to be pressure, but winning out of the gate helps. Now, we just have to take it match by match.”

Lynch agreed and said the motivation for this season has been there since last spring.

“Last year when we did better than we might have been expecting at the region tournament and made state, it was a real confidence-booster,” Lynch said. “After we lost in the first round, we knew that we really needed to step up our game. We really prepped for this season and we kept that motivation rolling.”

First-year Coahulla Creek coach Matt Facey said he has seen that drive from his team all season.

“I think losing is the greatest experience you can have to improve yourself,” Facey said. “You can’t beat the situation from which they came from, and you knew what they were capable of. They have worked so hard and have the heart to continue to work. It has been a great team environment with a great senior group.”

The Coahulla Creek No. 2 doubles team of Austin Lansing and Andy Dixon were up 6-0, 2-2 in their match with Rylee Patterson and Jordan Berry when play was suspended after Lynch finally ended the day’s action. The lone win for White County was at No. 1 singles, where Joe Dockery took a 6-3, 6-4 win over Jake Mathis.

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