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Lady Tigers headed to state tennis playoffs
girls tennis pic
Senior Savanna Kennedy returns a shot in the Region 7-AAA semifinals vs. North Hall April 11 at Lumpkin County. The Lady Tigers finished fourth to secure a spot in the state playoffs. - photo by Colin Ochs

The Lady Tigers are headed to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year after defeating Fannin County 3-2 in the quarterfinals of the Region 7-AAA tournament April 11 at Lumpkin County.

“This group, and we’ve changed regions a couple times and met some different people, but (making the state tournament) is always their No. 1 goal,” Coach Stefanie Gibbs said. “So, they just set out with that end in mind and made it happen.”

Although, Dawson County defeated the Rebels, 4-1, in the last match of the regular season, their tilt in the region tournament was much closer.

No. 1 singles player Savanna Kennedy, whose scholarship signing is on Friday, battled Fannin’s No. 1 player hard but fell short by a score of 4-6, 4-6. No. 2 singles player Abbey Haymond dropped her first set but fought back for the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory, and in perhaps the only easy win of the match, No. 3 singles player Tyler Perry defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-1.

Up 2-1 in the singles competition, it would come down to the doubles pairings to determine which team would advance. The No. 1 doubles team of Zoe Grindstaff and Isabella Brown started their match with a win in the first set but faltered down the stretch to lose 6-4, 6-7, 3-6.

Needing a win in the No. 2 doubles pairing, the team of Ashlynn Anglin and Sammy Hafermalz split the first two sets of their match before sweeping the third and final set for the 6-4, 6-7, 6-0 win to push the Lady Tigers through to the state playoffs.

Of course, there was more region tournament action still to play, and after falling to the eventual region champion North Hall in the semifinals, the Lady Tigers lost the third-place match to host Lumpkin County meaning Dawson County will enter the state tournament as the No. 4 seed in Region 7-AAA and will travel to Region 8-AAA champion Franklin County in the first round of the playoffs.