Glynn Academy tennis coach Burnett Rooks was aiming for a perfect day on the courts Tuesday. The Red Terrors and Lady Terrors almost obliged, but the coach was still very happy after the matches.
The squads combined to lose just three games as the No. 1 seeded Glynn boys and Glynn girls began the Class 6A playoffs with a pair of 5-0, 5-0 first-round wins over the Mt. Zion-Jonesboro boys and Mundy’s Mill girls squads.
“We only lost three games between girls and boys,” Rooks said. “Of course, we wanted 0 and 0, but that’s close enough. When you’re playing a fourth seed, you can’t let up because it will affect you in the next round. They played to the best of their abilities today.”
Matt Hartnett was the only player on the boys team to give up a point, but the No. 2 singles player still made quick work of Mt. Zion’s Jaken Miller with a 6-0, 6-1 win. Cole Paschal dispatched Ti Hatlen in No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0 with Stephen Thompson picking up the win 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles over Teon White.
Both Terrors doubles teams also picked up 6-0, 6-0 wins with Sheldon Barber and Ben McKenzie in the No. 1 doubles spot and Danny Moore and Joe Sousa teaming up at No. 2 doubles.
“I think we’re operating pretty well right now,” Hartnett said. “We’ve played some tough competition that has only made us better.”
Hartnett started the season in doubles, but Rooks shifted around the lineup earlier in the season looking for the right combination. Moving Hartnett to singles has paid off for the Terrors.
“I thought Matt would help the team better playing singles,” Rooks said. “I thought it affecting him because he wasn’t touching the ball enough. If he’s playing singles, he can get into a rhythm more because he’s hitting more and not just relying on his partner and him.”
Hartnett said the move has worked out and credits playing doubles with helping make him a better singles player.
“With doubles, you have that partner that is always with you and can talk to whenever you need to,” Hartnett said. “With singles, you’re just out there by yourself. You’re like a boxer — it’s just you, the ball, the court and your opponent. Doubles has actually helped a lot mentally because even though you don’t have that other person out there, you’re always thinking positively.”
The Lady Terrors yielded just two games to Mundy’s Mill, with both coming in singles. No. 1 singles Sarah Murray defeated Marinee Ta 6-1, 6-0, with Emma Hidalgo winning with the same score at No. 2 singles over Kayla Gross.
The Glynn girls got clean sweeps from Leanna Wood at No. 3 singles, Eliana Paga and Ansley Moody at No. 1 doubles and Curry Hartman and Yanin Reinholz at No. 2 doubles.
Up next for the girls is River Ridge, the No. 3 seed out of Region 6 who defeated Region 4 No. 2 seed Winder-Barrow 3-1 on Tuesday.
The boys’ opponent is still to be decided between Winder-Barrow and Dalton, the No. 3 seed out of Region 6. Rooks is hopeful that both boys and girls will play their second-round matches on Friday.
Whenever they’re back on the court, the tough competition both squads have faced this season will help them be ready for the playoff grind.
“You’re not intimidated when you see good opponents because you’ve seen them all year,” Rooks said. “When you’re playing against tough opponents, they’re going to get the ball back to you one more time. If you are used to playing just average teams and you hit a good shot and they don’t hit it back, you come to expect that. When you play those tough teams and they hit it back, you’re prepared for the next shot.”
For Hartnett, the keys to keep advancing is simple.
“Keep practicing and play loose,” Hartnett said. “That’s my main thing — play loose and keep my head in the game. Don’t get too lazy.”