Alcovy girls tennis excited for return trip to state
Perhaps few people other than the coaches and players listed on the Alcovy girls tennis team roster saw a state tournament appearance coming for the Lady Tigers.
After all, Alcovy was scheduled to match up against a Grovetown team in the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament that had beaten the Lady Tigers twice during the regular season. Alcovy would need to pull off quite the upset in order to advance to its first state tournament in three years.
And that’s exactly what it did.
The Tigers throttled Grovetown 4-1 Tuesday, allowing them to advance to the region semifinals against Greenbrier, but more importantly awarding them that elusive state tournament berth. And although it may have been an unexpected occurrence for most who’ve kept an eye on Region 2-AAAAAA tennis, for Alcovy coach Edward Kim, it was the expected payoff.
“The girls qualifying for state is just a byproduct of all of the hard work that they’ve done this year,” Kim said. “We knew that this region would be a lot more difficult than last year. Just about all these schools in Augusta have their own country clubs nearby with their professional personal coaches. Even Heritage has a tennis center down the road.
“All we had was each other. So to know that we beat all the expectations that was put on us means everything to this team.”
In so doing, Alcovy avenged its two earlier regular season losses against Grovetown in impressive fashion. Madison Young and Julia Towns won 6-2, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-3 respectively in their Nos. 2 and 3 singles matches. In doubles play, the top duo of Anna Claire Newsham and Haley Carter grabbed 6-2, 6-1 wins, and No. 2 Doubles players Cynthia Twiford and Emma Waddell won their match 6-2, 6-1.
Alcovy also got past Her- itage in the region tournament – another team that handed the Tigers regular season losses. Kim says all of that backstory makes the postseason achievements that much sweeter.
“During the regular season we lost to both Grovetown and Heritage in heartbreaking fashion twice,” Kim said. “We also went through an uncommon amount of injuries like nothing I have ever seen on any tennis team before. I never even really got to play my dream lineup until the last few weeks of the regular season.”
Thus the lack of shock for Kim and his team. The way the Tigers are playing now is indicative, Kim says, of what could’ve been had the squad been healthy all season long.
“Our resolve and determination was really tested during that time,” he said.
Their stamina was also tested – a test which Kim says his team passed with flying colors. That’s part of what makes the coach so confident. Thanks to a season-long focus on conditioning filled with running, burpees, agility ladders and weight lifting “without even touching the racquet” during practice.
Needless to say, it was a situation where the girls liked the results more than the process.
“They gated it, and they hated me for it,” he said. “But they’ll all admit now that that made the difference in the end. These last few matches before playoffs and throughout the playoffs thus far, we have simply been outlasting our opponents out on the court, especially as the weather has gotten hotter. As a team we are conditioned to be out there and out there longer than our opponents.”
Alcovy will travel to face Valdosta next week in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament. And that doesn’t phase Kim, nor his team at all, given what they’ve already overcome.
“With everyone finally back and through an equal amound of faith, tears and sweat, we upset two teams thus far,” he said. “And we’re looking to upset a few more at state.”
Other county tennis squads advance to postseason
Three other teams will join the Alcovy girls bunch in the state tournament this year, including both Eastside’s girls and boys teams, and the Newton boys.
The Eastside boys finished as region runners up to Woodward which netted the Eagles a first round home match against Howard next week in the Class AAAA state tournament. And the Rams, who finished fourth in Region 8-AAAAAAA, will travel to play Region 6-AAAAAAA champion Peachtree Ridge.
Meanwhile, the Eastside girls will also go on the road to face a yet-to-bedetermined foe in the Class AAAA girls’ first round. Eastside finished third in Region 4-AAAA behind region champion Woodward and runner up Druid Hills.
Stay tuned to our website, www.covnews.com, for state tournament updates through the week.
All we had was each other. So to know that we beat all the expectations that was put on us means everything to this team.” — Edward Kim, Alcovy coach
The Alcovy girls tennis team will compete in the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
Eastside freshman Abbey Grace Venham is will help lead a solid Lady Eagles team into the state tournament this week.