South Effingham High School

SEHS aces Elite Eight tennis test

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May 5, 2014

By Patrick Donahue

In barely an hour from the time the first serve was struck, the South Effingham boys tennis team clinched a trip to the state semifinals.
Two of the Mustangs’ three singles did not drop a game in quick victories and neither did the No. 1 doubles team as South Effingham beat Eagle’s Landing 4-1 Friday afternoon, setting up a Final Four matchup with Marist.
“They came out and took care of business,” said Mustangs first-year coach Kristen Finlen. “They were ready to win.”
No. 2 singles seed Kyle Howell posted the first win, a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Andrew Elias, and Spencer Jenkins took No. 3 singles from Roman Elmore 6-0, 6-0. The top doubles team of Ryan Nease and Jonathan Graham beat Niles Gilmore and Jesse Storr 6-0, 6-0.
Top singles seed Brent Jenkins outlasted Jackson Cook in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 for the final Mustangs’ match win.
“It’s a pretty deep group,” Finlen said.
Bryce Warren and Nick Cruiz salvaged the lone win for Eagle’s Landing, taking No. 2 doubles from Ben Grayson and Matt Hudson 6-3, 6-2.
Even as the players were involved in their own matches, they cheered on their teammates on adjoining courts, with shouts of “go Mustangs!” shooting through the air.
“These guys are all fairly close, and they all lift each other all the time,” Finlen said.
With the win, the Mustangs improved to 20-2 and played Marist on Monday in Macon. The War Eagles won eight state championships from 1998-2009.

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