Heritage tennis picked up a set of key region wins Wednesday, a day after frigid temperatures and damp conditions forced the two teams to wait 24 hours to compete. With temperatures much more reasonable, Heritage's boys swept Clarke Central 5-0 while the girls came away with a 4-1 win.
"It's a very important win for us," Heritage girls' coach Brian Smith said. "Clarke Central brought a lot of talented players in here and some real up-and-coming players in our region so it was good for us to step in there with them and win a big region match."
The boys were led by Jay Vinson and TJ Wilson in number one and number two singles respectively and the number two doubles team of Levi Lund and Darius Lewis. Each won its match to secure the win for the Patriots while the girls needed number wins from Fran Murry at No. 2 singles and both doubles teams to earn their fourth region win of the season. Both teams improved to 4-1 in a tie for second with Flowery Branch and a match back of Gainseville, the only team to best both squads.
"There are a lot of teams (in the region) that are pretty god and this team was good so this is a good win for us," boys' coach Chuck Landy said. "Our doubles teams played really solid. Jay (Vinson) got us off to a good start and TJ (Wilson) has been playing well and right now it's about trying to get a win in the region so we can get a good seed in the tournament."
Vinson got things started for the boys with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Martin Garin After swapping points back and forth Vinson settled in to a solid ground game to force Garin to come to him. The Clarke Central No. 1 singles player could not and Vinson eased away in the second match.
"Jay was very patient and played very smart," Landy said. "I think early on he found out he (Garin) had a pretty good power game. So he tried to see if he could beat us with the backhand and he forced the tempo and really forced him into hitting some errors and he took advantage."
On the girls' side it was Murry who picked up her team after Bianca Brown fell to Caroline Caldwell 1-6, 2-6 in No. 1 singles, Murry dispatched Maddy Jenkins with relative ease, 6-2, 6-0.
"I was really happy to see Fran, one of our senior leaders, play well," Smith said. "Her confidence is there. She really found her stroke today. She played a good player from Clarke Central and I was pleased to see her settle in and really play well."
The girls wrapped it up with wins from both doubles teams. The team of Julie Roseberry and Addy Allergretti topped Amelia Delamarter and Isobel Cain 6-3, 6-3 before Melissa Godwin and Becca Rackley earned the win at No. 3 doubles over Allie Martin and Addie Downs 6-3, 6-0.
The match of the day turned out to be a key one for the boys at No. 2 doubles. Lund and Lewis needed a tie-breaker in the second set to earn the win. In a match nether team controlled, both sets came down to the wire. After winning the first set 7-5, the team of Dragan Kapuran and Kristoff Bartos gave the Heritage duo everything it could handle. In the end it was a key win and learning experience.
"Levi and Darius have been fantastic," Landy said. "As a pair, they compete well. As close as that match was, in a good way, we needed that. That's a big thing for them to go through. We're going to be in that situation (tie-breaker) and they can look to this as an experience where they have been there and came through. We'll need that again"
Wilson defeated Tomislav Zabcic-Matic 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles while the team of Ronnie Flow and Kevin Blum needed a third-set tie-breaker to earn its victory over the duo of Gabe Harper and Tristan Lapetz. Dylan Dedrick capped the sweep for the Patriots with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ellis Flurry at No. 3 singles. For the girls, Logan Bouchillon was her steady self, picking up the win 6-1, 6-0 over Denise Sunta at No. 3 singles/
Both teams now look to take the momentum earned over the past week into the second half of the season where how they do will determine seeding for the region tournament in April at Flowery Branch.
"The weather has been up and down and we're trying to find some consistent training time but we have a stretch coming up here where we play about 10 matches in two weeks so we're going to find out a lot about ourselves," Smith said. "We definitely want to peak in April when we're heading into the region tournament."