Walton’s No. 1 doubles pairing of Crews Enochs and Trevor Croyder had just clinched a three-set marathon, winning 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 to keep the Raiders in the match.
But it was Johns Creek which folded under pressure. A couple of double faults led to Zhang and Villante having three match points at 0-40 before clinching the match on their second attempt.
Walton put the first point on the board when Francis Yang won his No. 3 singles match 6-0, 6-0. Johns Creek then got points at No. 1 and No. 2 singles to take a 2-1 lead.
After avenging its lone loss of the regular season, Walton (15-1) will face Brookwood in the quarterfinals. With both teams No. 1 seeds, the coaches were intending to flip a coin to determine the home team.
North Cobb 5, Newnan 0: The top-seeded Warriors made quick work of their opponent in the second-round Class AAAAAA state tournament match at home.
Jaryd Reese didn’t give up a game at No. 1 singles, while Andre Canino won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2. Rohman Mitchell lost one game in the second set at No. 3.
The doubles tandem of Ronak Mody and Preston Lahmann won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1, while Bradford Lahmann and Jacob Hightower were 6-0, 6-1 winners at No. 2.
North Cobb will host Region 4AAAAAA rival Kennesaw Mountain in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Harrison 3, Rockdale County 1: The Hoyas won both doubles points and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
Peter Heflin and Ben Maryland won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1, while the No. 2 team of Dylan Harvey and Lee Chadwick won 6-3, 6-0.
No. 2 singles player Brad Dismukes won 7-5, 6-2, providing the third point for Harrison (13-9).
The Hoyas will travel to Westlake next, facing the same opponent for the third time in as many postseasons.
Walker 3, Providence Christian 1: A doubles sweep keyed the Lady Wolverines’ first-round win in the Class A private-school state playoffs.
Audrey Cunningham and Leigh Norsworthy won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1, while Caroline Kunetz and Holly Harkins won 6-1, 6-1.
Carly Bloom added a singles point, winning 6-2, 6-2.
Walker (10-9) will travel to Brookstone in a quarterfinal-round match likely to be played Wednesday.
Walton 16, McIntosh 9: The Raiders posted their fifth win in a row with the road victory.
Ryan Jones scored seven goals and one assist for Walton (11-5), which took a 5-2 early lead. Alex Baker and Michael Gernatt each had two goals and one assist, while Kip Jones added one goal and two assists.
Four other players each had one goal, and Jake Hornberger totaled 11 saves in goal.
Walton will wrap the regular season against Area 2AAAAAA rival Woodstock at home Thursday. A victory would secure the Raiders the No. 2 seed from the area. A loss would drop Walton into a three-way tie with Roswell and Etowah for the final two playoff spots.
Kennesaw Mountain 13, East Coweta 3: The Mustangs prevailed in an Area 1AAAAAA game and will be a No. 3 seed going into the Class AAAAAA state tournament.
Dennis Bell led the way with three goals and two assists. Kyle Clark, Tyler Hale and Hank Von Ruden each had two goals in the game. Christian Groff, Scott Schultz, Wade Buffinton and Jackson Schrampfer each had one goal.
Josh Ehrlich and Brody Morin spit time at goal and combined for 18 saves.
The Mustangs (12-5, 5-2) will play at Chattahoochee in the first round May 8.
Hillgrove 12, Tri-Cities 2: Marilyn Pruitt led the Lady Hawks with four goals and three assists in the one-sided Area 1AAAAAA affair.
Olivia Ellis helped out with two goals and three assists. Susannah Krueger added two goals and one assist. Morgan Perone had two goals and Tianna Clark had two goals and one assist.
Hillgrove (11-5, 4-2) will host McEachern on Thursday.