041719_MNS_Sports_GOTW_Leah_Mautner

Pace girls’ tennis player Leah Mautner returns a shot with a backhand during a match earlier this season.

With the conclusion of the regular season and the start of the postseason coming April 15, local tennis programs are rounding into form in anticipation of potential long playoff runs.

The Pace girls’ team will be in the state playoffs after reaching the finals of the Region 5AAA tournament. Top performers have included senior captains Avi Arora, who is the top singles’ player, and Leah Mautner, who plays for both doubles teams in competition.

“Junior Rekha Sashti has been winning both singles and doubles matches for us and senior captain Bay Brickley has been invaluable for her leadership and team first mentality,” Knights girls head coach Matt Marsico said. “The regular season has gone well. We brought back almost our entire team from last year’s semifinal squad and have continued to build from there.”

Pace’s boys’ team is also in the state playoffs after finishing first in the region. The Knights defeated Lovett 3-2 April 6 to secure the regular-season title.

The Lions’ boys team swept Wesleyan 5-0 on the road April 1. The three singles players — sophomores Nicholas Kazamias and Zachery Frier and senior Colton Mays — won their matches, while the two doubles teams of junior Johnny Molner and sophomore Ayra Mishra and senior Harry Kahn and junior Hunter Fankhauser each won their matches in straight sets. The same combination of players won the next day at home against Marist for another Lovett victory.

The Lions fell at home to Woodward April 4 3-2, with Kazamias winning the singles match and the team of Moiner/Mishra the doubles contest.

The Westminster boys’ and girls’ team finished third in the region and will also be in the state playoffs. The Lady Golden Bears enter their Area 3A Tournament at the DeKalb Tennis Center in Decatur with a mark of 8-2 through April 9. Senior Morgan Jabaley has been in the No. 1 singles spot, with Dara Grocer in the second position.

“Morgan is a four-year varsity veteran, dedicated and an excellent scholar-athlete to boot,” Holy Innocents’ girls head coach Cindy Harder said. “Morgan is exceptionally fit and will outlast most opponents on an extended point. Dara spent the summer playing tournaments and drills, and really added to her point building and shot selection. In my 29 years of coaching the Holy Innocents’ program from its start in 1990, I’ve rarely seen such an aggressive net player and totally savvy doubles player as our sophomore Anna Dolive. She’s the ready-to-rumble player who everyone loves to team up with in competition. Off court, she’s such a friendly sparkler of a teammate.”

Atlanta International School also seeks to qualify for the state playoffs this week with solid performances in the Area 3A Tournament. The boys’ team will be led by singles one player Vali Stelea while the girls’ squad will see Kendall Kamerschen in the top singles spot and the doubles’ unit of Caroline Morris/Kira Israelite in competition.

The Marist girls’ team has had a stellar 2019 campaign with a 12-3-1 mark through April 9 and placed first in the region’s regular-season standings.

“In my three years of coaching the varsity girls, we’ve never had a better season,” Lady War Eagles head coach Jose Gregory said. “The main goal is to improve from how we did last year, when the girls made it to the state semifinals.”

The squad has relied on two underclassmen in freshmen Anya Nelson and Lucy Kalbas as the top singles players.

“They have been an incredible addition to the team,” Gregory said. “Our three senior co-captains, Dylan Rose Elledge, Leah Kim and Isabella Hay, have been instrumental to our team’s success this year. They have really helped on and off the courts, especially by creating a team culture that does what is in the best interest of the team instead of individual players.”

North Springs will see both of its teams in the state Class AAAAA tournament. The Spartans, the second seed from Region 6AAAAA, are led by freshman singles player Connor Plumly, who was 10-1 heading into the postseason. North Springs’ girls team is the four seed from the region and have been led by the doubles’ team of senior Amelia Muly and junior Jenny Rice who have an 8-2 record.

The Riverwood boys’ team secured the third seed from Region 6AAAAA with a 3-2 home win over Decatur March 27. Mo Zibitt won his singles’ match while the doubles’ teams of John Radney/Daniel Lewis and Simon Coffsky/Max Orsten also were victorious for the Raiders.

The Riverwood girls’ team won the region title for the third consecutive year in a 3-2 home victory against Decatur March 28. The Raiders will be the top seed out of the region in the state playoffs.

The Whitefield girls’ team earned a 4-1 home victory over Mount Pisgah Christian April 3 as seniors Keri Quillin, Hannah Morris and Sherina Thomas won their singles’ matches and the doubles’ team of junior Kylie Weihe and sophomore Isabelle Jordan won its match as well.

Holy Spirit Prep will have both of its teams in the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) state playoffs starting April 23 at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center in Macon. The Cougars’ boys doubles team of seniors Scott Jackson/Ben Ambo and girls’ singles player freshman Erin McGrath each finished second in the region tournament in their respective competitions.

Basketball news

Holy Spirit basketball star Anthony Edwards scored 12 points in 21 minutes of play during the McDonald’s All-American Boys’ Basketball Game March 27 at State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta, helping the East team beat the West 115-100. Edwards, a senior who is committed to play at Georgia next season, was 5-for-8 on field goals, including hitting one of his two 3-point shots, in the game.

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