GUYTON — The South Effingham girls tennis team continued its Region 2-AAAAA dominance last week by claiming its third consecutive region crown. The Lady Mustangs breezed through the tournament and took down Wayne County in the finals.
Head coach Kristen Finlen said South Effingham’s girls want to create a legacy and, so far, they’ve made good on their pact.
“They work very hard and they want to keep winning the region,” Finlen said. “They fight hard on the court. They practice really hard and during the offseason and they have good senior leadership. They see the seniors that graduate work really hard.
“They want to keep that tradition up.”
Mallori Jenkins and Makenzie Denison are just two of the Lady Mustangs that have had a racquet in their hand since middle school. Having played together for so long has helped them steer each other in the right direction.
“Some of these girls have been with us since eighth grade,” Finlen said. “All of them have been playing since sixth grade. They’ve done really good and they have good leadership and it’s the same with the boys.”
As they look ahead to the state tournament, the Lady Mustangs know what it takes to make a deep run.
“It’s a very good feeling to know that’s what they want to do,” Finlen said. “They want to keep winning. That’s what they are working hard for.”
The boys’ third-place finish was nothing short of a doozy as a two-and-a-half-hour battle ensued against Statesboro. Finlen complimented the Mustangs’ ability to withstand a long and grueling match.
“The boys played really, really good,” Finlen said. “It was a toucg match. We played Statesboro and it was a tough loss in the first round. We won two and three singles pretty easily (with) Reece Allen and Hunter Wainright. It came down to our doubles.
“We lost a close third set. We lost two very close third sets. Nick Walbert and Tommy Tapley played really well at No .1 doubles. Miguel Rodriquez and Isiah Scott played really well at No. 2 doubles. They played tough. They took care of business and left it all out there.”