After winning their singles matches Friday afternoon, all Lakeside freshmen Sam Dromsky and Drew Harris could do was watch and hope their teammates won one of the two remaining contests.
They didn’t have to wait long. After winning the first set 6-4, the Panthers’ No. 2 doubles team of junior Nathaniel Schwartz and freshman Stefan Haerle rallied from a 4-2 second-set deficit, winning 6-4, propelling the team into the third round of the GHSA Class AAAAA state tennis tournament with a 3-1 win over McIntosh.
“They needed a competitive match, we haven’t had but one or two all season,” said Lakeside head coach Miranda Whitmire, whose boys team improved to 18-2 with the win. “This is good for the next round, to have this practice and not one where it’s 0-0, where it’s not a competitive match.”
Dromsky, the Panthers No. 1 singles had a case of the nerves, but that didn’t last long.
”Before I started I did, but once I started I was fine,” Dromsky said. “I just needed to get a little feel.”
Dromsky was more than fine as he dominated his match with a blend of precision and power, overwheling McIntosh’s Corrie Pickering 6-1, 6-1.
Harris, the No. 2 singles, led his first set by a game the whole way and was up 5-4 before breaking his opponent’s serve to win 6-4. He used that momentum to win the second set 6-0.
“I figured me and Sam needed to start well to help the team get whatever wins we could and get the good positive momentum rolling,” Harris said.
Sophomore Andrew Bowles and freshman William O’Gorman, the No. 1 doubles, met what Whitmire called the best doubles team she’s seen all year and fell 6-2, 6-0. No. 3 singles, freshman Elliott Bull was down a set when Schwartz and Haerle’s match appproached its conclusion.
“Near the end we realized that Sam (Dromsky) and Drew (Harris) won and we figured we should just go ahead and win it,” said Schwartz.
Even with five freshman, a sophomore and a junior on the team, Dromsky isn’t worried about what happens when they run into more experienced teams as the tournament progresses.
“It’s more talent,” he said. “Once you get to this level it’s who’s better. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a freshman or a senior.”