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Wildcat tennis teams hold off stubborn Claxton
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The RHHS boys and girls tennis raised their levels of play to defeat a stubborn Claxton team on Thursday. The girls managed a 5-0 shutout and the boys squeaked by with a 3-2 win.
The girls once again started things with a two set victory by senior stand-out Caroline Benjamin. Benjamin’s serve was exceptional and led to short rallies and easy points. Fiona Baer, at number two singles, closed out in successive sets with consistent passes and power shots. Newcomer and senior Gina Florio got her first win at three singles. Doubles veterans Annastasia Ames and Emily Stephens found an easy two set shut out at one doubles. Ali Mazur and Kate Macedo continued maturing at two doubles with a final match point at two doubles.
The Claxton boys posted three excellent singles players. RHHS was forced to juggle the lineup due to some injuries. Michael Zhu was out with a pulled muscle and was replaced by sophomore Jason Trankle. Jason in turn pulled a muscle and retired after the first set.
Huy Phan then faced a powerful singles player and dropped two sets. The Wildcats, now down 2-0, needed to win the rest of the matches to pull out a win. Doubles teams of Lee and Chris Noonburg and Nick Balas and Kyle Guither made short work of their opponents pulling the match to even.
Jeff Kennedy, returning after an illness, had the match on his shoulders. Kennedy staged a great comeback and beat his opponent in two sets with a final 9-7 tie-break.
“The girls continue to surprise me,” said Coach Pat Paruso. “They have been winning the matches they should and stealing a few others on the way. The boys now realize they are beatable and need to become more competitive in games and practice.”
The teams are still hopeful to advance deep into the state playoffs and will be squaring off with St. Vincent, Benedictine, and South Effingham, all region matches. They will round out the season with competition from Jenkins, Bryan County and Southeast Bulloch.
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