TIFTON -- It came down to a single match that may have reminded some people of the battery commercial, "that keeps going and going". However, when it was all said and done, the Tift County Lady Devils were eliminated from the state Class AAAAA tennis tournament Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the East Coweta Lady Indians. It was the second time in three years that Tift County was eliminated in the second round of the state.
Tied 2-2, the overall match came down to number two singles.
Tift County's Whitney Lightfoot and East Coweta's Ashley McKown played for three hours and 47 minutes, before McKown finally prevailed 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
In the second set, Lightfoot was down 0-3 and came back to tie it up. Tied at 4-4, she was up 40-0 in the set's ninth game, but McKown rebounded to take the win in that game as she went on to win the second set.
That seemed to take the wind out of Lightfoot's sails as she could not get on track during the remainder of the match.
"Whitney gave it all she had and I am proud of her," said Tift coach Jim Clayton. "I told her after the match this was a team effort and it didn't boil down to just her."
The coach continued about Lightfoot, "she played it out as hard as she could."
The other two wins for Tift came in doubles. The number one team of Rachel Lawler and Anna Cohen won 6-0, 6-2, while the number two team of Claire Slocum and Marcy Shiver emerged with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
Tift's Becky Alt was defeated at number one singles, 1-6, 1-6. At number three, the Lady Devils' Sarah Dutcher fell 1-6, 3-6.
"We are naturally disappointed that the season is over. However, we are pleased about playing in the second round again. It makes our goals for next year pretty simple, we want to get out of the second round," said Clayton.
He added, "I think we would have arrived, if we can get past the second round next year. We can see the mountain top, but we the air is thin and we are not used to it, just yet."
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