Destiny is within the Lakeside girls tennis team’s grasp.
Tuesday, the Lady Panthers did what they have done all year – especially in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state tournament – rolling to a 3-0 win over Allatoona, advancing to the state finals.
“They all played so well and they all came out, they were not nervous, they did not get tight, they came out to play,” said Lakeside head coach Miranda Whitmire, who couldn’t stop smiling.
The Lady Panthers (21-1) had advanced to the semifinals without allowing an opposing team to score. The task looked tougher facing an Allatoona squad that entered with a 21-1 mark, having lost only to Class AAAAAA semifinalist Kennesaw Mountain and who were state runners-up a year ago.
Despite the stakes and the pedigree of the opposition, the Lady Panthers weren’t feeling the pressure.
“I wasn’t really nervous, I was more excited than ever because this was the farthest we’d ever gotten and our chances of getting to the finals are looking good right now,” said No. 3 singles Anneliese Leahy, who beat Haley Proctor 6-1, 6-0 and was the first match to finish.
Not far behind Leahy was the No. 1 doubles team of Sara Hess and Alexis Ellis, who dominated Kat Pugh and Katie Hulsey en route to a 6-0, 6-1 win. No. 2 singles Taylor Richards defeated Allison Whitley 6-1, 6-2 to end the match and No. 1 singles Kayla Hergott was up a set while No. 2 doubles Katie Burton and Brittany McLeod were down a set when play was halted.
The Lady Panthers will play the winner of today’s other semifinal between Cambridge and Starr’s Mill. Starr’s Mill is the only team to have beaten the Panthers, winning 3-2 on Feb. 9.
“Since we we played Starr’s Mill it would be nice just because we played them, we’re familiar with them, but either way we’ll be ready for whichever team we meet,” Whitmire said.
The finalists will meet Saturday at the Clayton County International Park Tennis Center in Jonesboro, Ga. at 9 a.m.