The balance of power appears to have shifted in Columbia County high school girls tennis.
Greenbrier ruled the courts for the past four years, winning four region titles and advancing to four state final fours. They graduated five seniors from that run, and this year Lakeside has a talented, hungry team.
The Lady Wolfpack played host to Lakeside in their season-opener and the Lady Panthers, playing in their fifth match, made a statement winning 5-0 Thursday afternoon.
Not to be outdone, the Lakeside boys team, playing with three freshman in singles, beat the Wolfpack 4-1.
“It’s nice to finally beat Greenbrier,” said Lady Panthers No. 1 singles player, junior Kayla Hergott. “I don’t think they’ve lost a match in a season in four years. It’s nice coming in knowing we can win.”
Hergott defeated Morgan Taylor, Greenbrier’s new No. 1 this year. 6-1, 6-0.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” said Taylor, who picked up a racket after finishing the basketball season. “Hopefully before region I’ll be ready.”
Taylor Richards and Anneliese Leahy picked up the other singles wins for the Lady Panthers (4-1, 1-0 Region 2A-AAAAA) while Alexis Ellis and Sara Hess, and as Katie Burton and Brittany McLeod, registered doubles victories.
Sam Dromsky, Drew Harris, and Elliot Bull got the ball rolling for the Panthers (4-1, 1-0) as they earned straight-sets victories in their first region matches.
“I like how focused they are as freshman and how good they’ve been,” said Lakeside head coach Miranda Whitmire. “They’ve really stepped up as leaders.”
Freshman William O’Gorman and sophomore Andrew Bowles picked up the Panthers’ doubles win while Greenbrier’s (0-1, 0-1) Andrew Hester and Grant McCracken triumphed in the other doubles match.
Greenbrier head coach Brittany Rachels knows this will be a different season than her first four, but still feels her teams will do well at the end.
“There will definitely be growth between the beginning of the season and the end of the season,” she said.