Lady Cougars end tennis season GIAA 2A state runners-up

Published 6:17 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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The Grace Christian Academy (GCA) Lady Cougars finished runners-up in the 2023-2024 GIAA 2A Tennis Team State Championship. They fell 0-3 to rivals Southwest Georgia Academy (SGA) in the title match.

“It was a tough assignment,” said Lady Cougars head coach Rhonda Wells. “I’m proud of them, that’s a tough team to beat.”

The Lady Cougars and SGA have history. SGA edged the Lady Cougars for the GIAA region 3-2A title in the regular season, and both teams played for the GIAA 2A singles and doubles state championships.

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“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Wells said. “There were some tight points… they played really well.”

Elijah Grace Cawvey, Kate Poitevint and Grier Albritton represented GCA in Singles. Sybil Lee, Izzy Rentz, Regan DeLanoy and Madelyn Ard represented the team in Doubles.

The Lady Cougars advanced to the championship match after a tense semifinal win over Brookwood. Both GCA doubles teams lost early, meaning Poitevint, Cawvey and Albritton had to win their singles matches to keep the team alive. They did just that.

“They showed a lot of mental toughness,” Wells said. “I mean, I have great players.”

The loss marks the end of the Lady Cougars’ season. They ended the year with top finishes in every state playoff competition and all players returning. They claimed a Doubles state championship in Lee and Poitevint, a Singles state runner-up title in Cawvey and the Team state runners-up title.

The Doubles state championship was Poitevint and Lee’s second doubles title in two years, winning it for the first time in the 2022-2023 season. 

Poitevint and Lee beat an SGA doubles team in a commanding 6-0 6-1 win. Wells said she was delighted with their back-to-back championship.

“They brought me two,” Wells said, referencing what Poitevint and Lee told her after the match. “I’m super proud of them.”

Lee and Poitevint have been dominant all year. They went undefeated through the season and dropped just three games out of 48 played against playoff opponents. 

The pair said this year’s win came with added pressure, but they rose above it to reach the championship once again.

“It feels harder, for sure,” Lee said after the match. “Recreating success is hard.”

“There was a lot more pressure this year,” Poitevent said. “Before we left Bainbridge, everybody was like, ‘Ooooo, You’re gon’ come back with another one.’”

Lee and Poitevint have been playing tennis since a young age and have been taking supplemental tennis lessons for the past two years. Wells said the two have meshed well together over their years of playing together. 

That chemistry was evident in their first state championship win last year. Wells said they came into this season “head and shoulders” above the rest of the competition. 

“They just work well together,” Wells said. “Sybil’s really developed at the net, and Kate’s serve is rocking… they’re very dedicated. They put in the work, and they’re seeing the results.”