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April 10, 2014

GCAA tennis tourney starts today at ABAC

TIFTON — The Georgia College Athletic Association tennis tournament begins today at ABAC. It is the first of three days of action that last from nearly sunup until sundown.

"Guys start in the morning," said Stallions coach Dale White. "Six singles, then doubles." The same schedule holds true for the women.

As usual, all eyes will be on Georgia Perimeter and ABAC. Their women are ranked No. 2 nationally in the latest ITA poll. Their men are No. 6. ABAC is just one behind at No. 7.

"It's always a battle," he said. "We're expecting the same."

White hopes the scores are better than earlier this year. It was a double loss for the teams, the men falling 5-4 and 8-1 for the women. They are who the men start against in the tourney, while the women's first opponent is Oxford College.

This tournament is not just big in the state, it determines their future. "These are the most important matches of the year," said White. Winners qualify for the national tournament, which will be held at in Texas in May. Women go to Tyler, while the men’s is at Collin College.

The Stallions possess one big weapon for the tourney, Josh Page. Not only is he the squad's No. 1 singles competitor, he was undefeated until last Tuesday's match against Coastal Georgia. Page has also had a good year in doubles with partner Corey Smith.

White thinks they will go far. "I feel good about our guys. We're very much a team." Out of seven players, six are sophomores. The optimism carries over to his women's team. "We've come a long way," he said.

They have not had to just battle other teams this year, too. Weather has been unpredictable. Six matches have had to be cancelled and another was rescheduled.

The Stallion roster consists of Page,  Michael Bailey, Bo Blalock, Parker Cuevas-Woodall, Jonah Jakubec, Nathan Palmer and Austin Corey Smith.  Blalock is from Colquitt County. The Fillies sent out Camelia Abdallah, Courtney Barber, Kelly Burge, Lorraine Chon-Qui, Scarlet Cook, Haley Humphrey and Gillian Mitchell.

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