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Tennis Rebels advance to Elite Eight
Martin Carper of the Rebels controls a point at the net Wednesday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD -- An strange ingredient didn't ruin Effingham County's recipe for success in boys tennis Wednesday.

The pinch of nervousness that was sprinkled into the mix of fun, frivolity and hard work didn't prevent the Rebels from advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. They topped Evans 4-0.

"Before the match, they started realizing the enormity of it -- that they were doing something special," Rebels coach Barry Kirkland said. "They were a little nervous at the beginning of the match but they hung tough. They are a great bunch of kids."

Nathan Knight, Martin Carper, Clark Heller, Alex Knight, Graham Corles, Cole Pierce and Macen Evans are 9-0 in the Class AAAAAA tournament.

"I call them 'The Magnificent Seven," and they really are, " Kirkland said. "They have worked their butts off. I love them."

The Rebels will host Centennial on Tuesday.

See the May 2 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.