The Columbus Highs girls tennis team defeated West Laurens 3-2 Tuesday to advance to GHSA Class AAAA championship Saturday in Jonesboro.
The semifinal win at Lakebottom was hard fought.
Madelyn Boren of Columbus won her No. 1 singles match 7-6, 6-1 over Stevie Rae Brown to give the Lady Blue Devils the lead. But West Laurens' Allison Keen defeated Maddison Abell 7-6, 6-3 in No. 2 singles to even the match.
West Laurens took a 2-1 lead with a win at No. 2 doubles. Ashley Perry and Molly Davis beat Kate Mize and Akshaya Shan, 6-4, 7-5.
The Columbus No. 1 doubles team of Abby Courville and Elizabeth Steelmon rallied from a set down to defeat Kate Melvin and Caroline Culpepper 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to even the match again.
Mayu Onoe clinced the win for Columbus by winning her No. 3 singles match over Chandler Reynolds, 6-2, 6-1.
"I could not be more proud of all the girls," Columbus coach MikelAnna Hill wrote in an email. "This was one of the toughest matches we have played this season. They fought hard and played their hearts out.
"Abby and Elizabeth pulled out an awesome match after being behind. I loved seeing their fight when they were down. Madelyn and Mayu played strong and secured critical singles wins. We can't wait for Saturday."
This is the first time Columbus has gone to a state
championship since the GHSA went to a team-only format in 1995.
Columbus went to the semifinals four straight years ending in 2007 but lost in the semifinals all four years.
Columbus will face the winner of the Marist and Richmond Academy match Saturday in Jonesboro.
The Columbus girls are trying to duplicate the boys' feat from last year when they won a state championship.
Tuesday at Lakebottom
No. 1: Madelyn Boren (CHS) def. Stevie Rae Brown 7-6, 6-1; No. 2: Allison Keen (WL) def. Maddison Abell 7-6, 6-3; No. 3: Mayu Onoe (CHS) def. Chandler Reynolds 6-2, 6-1.
No. 1: Abby Courville/Elizabeth Steelmon (CHS) def. Kate Melvin/Caroline Culpepper 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; No. 2: Ashley Perry/Molly Davis (WL) def. Kate Mize/Akshaya Shan 6-4, 7-5.
Record: Columbus 23-2. Next: Columbus vs. winner of Marist and Richmond, Saturday in Jonesboro, Ga.
Brookstone boys in semis
The Brookstone boys will play at Pace Academy today at 2:30 p.m. in the Class A private school semifinals.
The Cougars missed reaching the final four last year, and that ended a streak of nine straight trips.
In those nine trips, the Cougars went 3-6, beating Galloway in 2004, St. Francis in '05 and Athens Academy in '12.
Brookstone went on to win the state championship in '05, beating Athens Academy.
That was Brookstone's second state title. The first came in 1987. The Cougars lost to Pace Academy 3-1 in the '11 semifinals.
So far this season, Brookstone has blanked ELCA 4-0 in the first round and Hebron Christian 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
The Cougars are led by Kazuki Onoe, Baran Baris and Jonathan Dreelin at singles and Trey Thorne, Hudson Terrell, Jack Pease and Charles Pease at doubles.