With the other matches done, players, coaches and fans walked toward one court.
Richmond Academy’s Ivan Smith was there in the third set in the deciding matchup. Using some powerful shots and playing more mistake-free, the No. 1 singles player completed the Musketeers tennis teams’ success Wednesday in the first round of the Class AAAA state tournament against Veterans at Newman Tennis Center. The girls won 5-0, while the boys survived 3-2.
“It’s exciting,” Richmond Academy coach Kim White said. “I knew they were young, but I knew they would be good.”
The girls didn’t encounter many obstacles in their win. Hollis Sherman, Kayla Price and Josie Guitton – the Nos. 1 through 3 singles players – lost only one game between the three of them in their singles’ matches.
In Price’s match, her foe tried to float one over her, but she backtracked enough to smash a winner. Price breezed for her win, and Sherman followed minutes later with her victory.
The Musketeers boys won on the strength of their singles players. After No. 3 singles Tyler Melvin won 6-1, 6-3, No. 2 singles Jack Guitton did his job.
Guitton won a first-set tiebreaker before he took the second set 6-1. He was in charge the entire second set, winning a big point after he raced to get the ball and then hit a perfect drop shot.
With the pressure now, Smith limited the mistakes and made the deciding set look easy in a 6-1 result.
Now the teams are going to the second round a year after reaching the state semifinals in Class AAA.
“After losing in the semifinals, they’re determined to get back to Atlanta,” White said about the girls team. “The boys have the desire to do what the girls did.”