FLOWERY BRANCH — For the sixth consecutive season the Flowery Branch girls tennis team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
The Lady Falcons clobbered Grady Tuesday afternoon 4-0 behind a dominant overall performance as they did not drop a single set in a match that lasted just over an hour.
Flowery Branch next will play host to Wayne County in the second round. Initial start is set for Monday at 1 p.m. at the Flowery Branch Courts.
Coach Ginger Jackson said her squad is playing perhaps its best all season. They will be looking for just their third Elite 8 appearance in program history.
“I thought we played very well today,” Jackson said. “We put some balls away that we haven’t been doing so that was nice to see. I saw some great things out of all five lines.”
Annabelle Thomas got things started with a quick 6-0, 6-0 win over Lena Rose at No. 1 singles. Then, Olivia Nance at No. 3 singles in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Bea Brown and the No. 2 doubles team of Marissa Barrett and Brenna Martin with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Brooke Willis and Audrey Dwyer finished almost simultaneously to clinch the match.
Olivia Correa at No. 2 singles defeated Arella Simpson 6-2, 6-1 for the final point. The No. 1 doubles match was pulled with the Lady Falcons up one set.
The Lady Falcons have been dominant most of the season and Jackson said this group has a chance to make history for the tennis program. They have a favorable draw that has them possibly matching up with Veterans out of Warner Robins in the Elite 8.
They have never advanced past the quarterfinals.
“I like this team a lot,” she said. “We’re balanced in singles and doubles and we’ve been able to keep our same lineup for most of the season. We have a good draw this year with the (south Georgia) crossover. But, we’re just looking at the next match.
“We don’t know much about Wayne County but we’re just going to put our lineup out there and see what happens. We feel like this is a team that can get us to that next level that we’ve been building toward.”
Flowery Branch last advanced to the quarterfinals in 2015. The Lady Falcons also advanced to the Elite 8 in 2012 but were knocked out in the second round in 2013, 2014, and 2016.