One season ended and another continued Wednesday for the Lakeside High School tennis program.
On the road at Glynn Academy, the Lady Panthers advanced to the semifinal round of the Georgia High School Association’s state girls tournament for the first time since 2008 with a 3-0 win. The boys team saw their season come to a close in dramatic fashion, losing 3-2 to Union Grove.
The Panthers’ young squad – five freshmen, a sophomore and a junior – displayed the kind of heart in a losing cause Wednesday that led them to finish 18-3, winning a region title and falling just short of the state’s final four.
Long after singles players Sam Dromsky (6-2, 6-1) and Drew Harris (6-1, 6-1) won their matches and both doubles teams lost, No. 3 singles Elliott Bull played on.
With the match knotted at two wins apiece, the 14-year-old freshman battled Union Grove’s Bradley Perry for almost two and a half hours. He lost the first set but rallied to win the second, 6-3, throwing up at its conclusion. He battled valiantly in the third set, but the junior Perry pulled away for the 6-2 win, clinching the match for the Wolverines (22-4).
“That kid (Bull) has the heart of a mountain right now,” said Lakeside Athletic Director Donnie Burch. “Such a good, hearty kid. To persevere and play through everything. He’s over there sick, throwing up, and he still comes back out. He represents the Lakeside-don’t-quit attitude.”
Bull lost the first set 6-4 after trailing 5-2, which he said gave him confidence heading to the second set. He started the second set up 3-0 and led 4-2 when he broke Perry’s serve in a marathon game that went to nine deuces before he strung together consecutive points for a commanding 5-2 lead.
He didn’t use his nausea between sets as an excuse for Perry winning the third set.
“I guess it took a little (out of me), but he played really good in the third set, give it to him,” Bull said.
Bull’s teammates appreciated the resolve he showed.
“Today we played really well and Elliott threw up at the end but we were all really, really proud of him,” said junior Nathaniel Schwartz. “We didn’t expect him to come back, but he did.”
The squad was proud of what they accomplished during the season and the promise that the future holds.
“Since we’re so young it’s pretty good we got to the quarterfinals of state,” said Dromsky. “If we can get this far as freshmen, it looks like we can do pretty good later.”
For the Lady Panthers, when Kayla Hergott (6-1, 6-0), Anneliese Leahy (6-3, 6-4) and the doubles team of Alexis Ellis and Sara Hess (6-3, 6-1) won their matches, the final two were halted.
The win ran the Lady Panthers record to 20-1, but the team’s success hasn’t been a surprise to head coach Miranda Whitmire.
“I expected them to do well and I’ve been impressed by them this year,” Whitmire said. “Today was the toughest match we’ve played this year.” The Lady Panthers are set to face Allatoona with a pending coin flip to determine the home team.