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Heritage girls tennis squad makes historic playoff run
Lady Patriots’ Keeli Smith and Kaylee Humphries are all smiles after winning the 2009 Region 8-AAAA tennis title.

Springtime at Heritage High School has been a season of success for the Patriots.

The girls’ and boys’ soccer teams placed second in the region, which included a berth in the state playoffs.

On the diamond, the baseball team swept South Paulding at the onset of the postseason before being upended by Northgate in the second round.

Adding on to this banner season for the red, white and blue is the girls’ tennis squad, who authored a new chapter in school history after winning their first-ever region championship and advancing to the semifinals of the Class AAAA Georgia High School Association Girls’ Tennis Tournament.

"Being part of the Heritage tennis team this year has been unbelievable –– first region title and first time going to the Final Four in 33 years for the school," said senior and team captain Stephanie Humphries. "It’s been great to be part of making that piece of history for our school. It has been an honor to be associated with such a great group of players. We are a close team and good friends. I will miss them after graduating."

Heritage slammed the competition in the regular season in singles and doubles matches, which propelled it to a 20-4 overall mark with an 11-0 record in the league.

En route to its Final Four appearance, top-seeded Heritage knocked off Sprayberry 3-0, Douglas County 3-1 and McIntosh 3-2 before falling 3-0 to Glynn Academy from Brunswick.

"We didn’t even qualify for the state playoffs last year. With this being my second year of coaching, I had a little more feel of what the players were capable of doing," said Heritage girls’ head coach Brian Smith. "We came in and got off to a good start to the season. That sparked us and we knew we had something special."

The Lady Patriots featured a talented roster, who received multiple postseason awards led by singles’ players freshman Alix and junior Taylor Maloney along with Humphries. Heritage’s star-studded doubles tandem showcased sophomore Keeli Smith/freshman Kaylee Humphries and sophomores Callie Alford/Amanda Voyles.

Alford and Voyles were named First-Team All-Region for doubles competition while Alix and Kaylee took home Second-Team All-Region honors in singles action. Stephanie rounded out the player awards by being voted Third-Team.

In addition to the player awards, Smith was named as the Region 8-AAAA Girls’ Coach of the Year for his remarkable turnaround, making Heritage a force to be reckoned with on the court.

"Anytime the coaches you go up against in the region vote for you, it’s just gratifying. All the credit goes to the girls for the way the played and represented our high school all year," Smith said.

Heritage’s boys’ team also made a deep run in the state playoffs, but lost to Starr’s Mill in the quarterfinals.