The Troup High girls took a region road trip on Thursday afternoon, and they didn’t have to go far.
Coach Tammy Green and the Lady Tigers traveled down the highway to the McCluskey Tennis Center for a matchup of immense proportions with the La-Grange High girls. It did mean more.
The girls did play harder. The Lady Tigers and Lady Grangers did put more emphasis on their shots. Both teams shared some stares and smirks.
But when it was all said, won and done, LaGrange High had a 5-0 triumph against a talented and well coached Lady Tiger team.
“It was a little overwhelming, and it means a lot. You’ve got to work hard,” said LaGrange High sophomore Jamie Livingston.
She took on the opportunity and the match at No. 3 singles. Livingston surprised even herself. Livingston found her inner tennis passion and pushed on through for a 6-1, 6-1 win over Troup High senior Madi Jeter.
The younger Livingston beat the older Jeter. One good athlete beat the other. It was tennis as usual with a little sun and a court full of motivation.
“I had my strategy and my shot selection. I got to a lot of balls. I hit some deep shots,” said Livingston.
Lady Granger junior Abbi Lynn Lanier used her full repertoire of shots as well and had to in the No. 1 singles match. Lanier needed time and a gaggle of shots to wear down Troup High senior Bailey Lawson, 6-1, 6-4.
It was not a ho hum victory for the high level Lanier.
“It was challenging, and she (Lawson) was consistent. It made me nervous, but I had a lot of good points. I had a lot of fun. I had a good forehand and backhand,” said Lanier, the consummate student of the tennis game.
LaGrange High would chip away for another win at No. 2 singles. Taking her game to the next level was Lady Granger sophomore Lizzie Wilkerson. She knocked off European talent Anna Travnickova, the Troup High sophomore foreign exchange student and tennis player from the Czech Republic.
Wilkerson had to work for a 6-2, 6-1 win. Travnickova did have her moments and her points, but Wilkerson had a few more winning rallies.
Travnickova is well aware of that.
“I wanted to play (the ball) to the side. I wanted to make her move, but I played really bad,” said the 5-foot-10 Travnickova. “I did have my forehand (shot).”
In the two doubles matches, Troup High battled on. The Lady Tigers had their chances to win both doubles matches, but Troup High lost both.
“All of the points were long. We had some great matches and good rallies. We just didn’t get the points that mattered (the most),” said Green.
LaGrange High won 6 – 4, 7-6 with Lauren Yarbrough and Kelsey Anne Cadenhead over the Troup twosome of Olivia Foster and Natalie Benefield at No. 1 doubles. The Lady Tigers were on the threshold of winning, but LaGrange High finished with a little more tennis zip.
Cadenhead and Yarbrough prevailed.
The Lady Grangers were too much for Troup High at No. 2 doubles, too. Seniors Tori Cason and Nadi Collins won six games for the Lady Tigers, but no sets. The Lady Granger doubles team of Elise Lee and Crystal Koo were tough in the clutch.
Koo, the sophomore, and Lee, the junior, won the match, 6-4, 6-2.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer