Some people may be surprised to see the Columbus High boys tennis team playing in the Class AAAA semifinals, but don’t count any of the Blue Devils among them.
Coach Betsy Zachry said on Monday that this is something the team has been building toward for four years, and it’s just the culmination of a lot of work and increased confidence.
“We’ve been close over the past two years,” Zachry said. “We had a lot of 3-2 matches. This year, we gained a lot of confidence and believed we could make it here.”
After a surprising upset of Marist in the second round followed by a victory over LaGrange in the quarterfinals, Columbus will travel to Griffin to face Spalding at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Zachry said the team is going to be facing a bit of an unknown in Spalding. The teams have three common opponents, but that’s all Zachry really has to go off of. Still, after its leap forward in the win over Marist, Columbus believes it has a chance to win it all.
“I think the win over Marist gave them that feeling that they really could do it,” Zachry said. “They’ve had the ability and they’ve known they had a good team. But confidence has been building as the season’s gone along. I think they’re hungrier than they’ve ever been.”
A win would put Columbus in the finals against either South Effingham or Madison County.
Area soccer teams set for 2nd round
Four area soccer teams, two boys and two girls, remain alive in their respective GHSA state playoffs.
The Columbus girls, coming off a runner-up season in 2012, host Grady in the second round after a 5-0 victory over Stephens County in the first. Grady was similarly successful, shutting out Northwest Whitfield, 4-0.
Both Brookstone’s boys and girls squads are alive for second-round matchups. The girls get top-seed Aquinas, which got a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The boys will also be on the road at top-seed Savannah Christian.
Brookstone is a 3-seed, but pulled a first-round upset 1-0 over Strong Rock.
The Pacelli boys host Aquinas after earning a first-round bye. Aquinas defeated Calvary Day 5-0 in the first round. If both boys teams win, Pacelli would host Brookstone in the quarterfinals.
Columbus lacrosse prepared for first playoff in 5 years
The Lady Blue Devils had not made the state lacrosse playoffs in the first four years Joe McDaniel was head coach. In his fifth, the team is in, albeit as a No. 4 seed.
Columbus (10-4, 5-3) travels to top-seed Northview for the first round on Wednesday.
The two teams have met once already this season, with Northview winning 20-4. It was the Lady Blue Devils first game back from spring break, and McDaniel welcomes the opportunity to have a better showing.
“This is the best team we’ve had in several years,” he said. “We’re happy to have this chance because we feel like we can win.”
McDaniel said his team needed to be great at the basics — catching, throwing, shooting and defense — to win the game.
“We don’t need anything fancy,” he said. “We’ve got a great chance. The basics have been our focus all year, and it’s worked out well. It’s not a mistake that we made the playoffs.”
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.