Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

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April 11, 2012

Southland tennis wins region tournament

ALBANY —  The Southland Raiders recently completed their regular season with a huge win over their arch rival Deerfield-Windsor to secure a perfect 16-0 season. The Raiders won the regular season region title, but they had to win the GISA Region 3-AAA Tournament to claim the region tournament championships as well. The Raiders would do just that, as the beat Deerfield-Windsor by a mere one point to claim the region tournament crown to add to their already impressive list of accomplishments this year.

The Raiders competed in the first and second rounds of the region tournament on Monday, and they continued to show why they are the undisputed top team in Region 3-AAA.

In their first matches, Sachin Kothari and Micah Whittaker would each win their first set 6-0 before ending the match with a 6-1 victory in the second set. Kothari would take down Cole McClain of Tiftarea in his first round match, and Whittaker would defeat Cullan Bryant of Calvary Christian. Kyle Crew would only surrender one game in his first set against Trey Spillers before shutting out Spillers in the second set to earn the easy match victory.

In the round of eight, the Raiders continued their strong play. Kothari would take on Ben Hoopes of Deerfield who defeated Tyler Williams in his first match. Sachin would continue his dominance by winning his first set 6-0, and closing out Hoopes with a 6-1 second set victory to advance to the final four.

Micah Whittaker would have to battle a tough Lance Parks from Westfield in his round of eight. Micah dropped his first set 4-6 before out-dualing Parks in the second set for a 7-5 win. In the tie breaker, Whittaker won the first two games and the tiebreaker to earn the match victory and advance to the final four to go up against his teammate Kothari.

Crew would also take on a tough opponent in Nasser Rizvi from Deerfield. Rizvi beat his first opponent 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the second round against Crew. Kyle defeated Rizvi 6-4 in the first set to take a huge lead over Deerfield’s number two singles player. In the second set, Crew won even more impressively with a 6-3 win to earn himself a spot in the final four.

The win by Crew meant that three of the four players in the final four were from Southland.

In the final four, Kothari took on Whittaker for a spot in the finals. Kothari had yet another excellent match, and he won his two sets 6-1, and 6-0 to earn a spot in the finals.

Crew then had to take on arguably the best player in the entire state in Brian Jordan of Tiftarea. Jordan showed why he is one of the top tennis players in the state of Georgia by defeating Crew 6-1, 6-0 to earn a spot in the finals against Kothari.

In the finals, Jordan was equally as impressive as he was against Crew. Jordan blanked Kothari in the first set before winning the second set 6-1 and earning the title as individual region champion.

Crew and Whittaker would then play a consolation match to determine the number three and number four seeds in the state individual tournament. Crew would beat his teammate 6-1 in the first set, but Whittaker would battle back and defeat Crew 7-6 to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Whittaker would squeak out a 9-7 set victory and earn the number three seed in the state tournament.

In the doubles play, McClain Cummins and Dalton Rooks would win their first round match against Alex Shelton and J.C. Coleman of Westfield 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals the Southland boys would fall to Will Calhoun and Pete Langstaff of Deerfield.

Southland’s second doubles team of Matt Ledger and Alex Arnold dropped their first round match to Bryson Hood and Kyle Benard of Tiftarea 1-6, 3-6.

The State Individual Tournament is set to take place at JDSTC in Macon on Tuesday, April 17, and Wednesday, April 18.  Rounds one and two will be held on Tuesday, and the semi finals and finals will be held on Wednesday.

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