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Epic win for Lady Grangers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

COLUMBUS – With her team’s championship hopes on the line, LaGrange High’s Annie Pauley came through.

During Tuesday’s showdown in the Region 2-AAAA championship match at Cooper Creek Park, LaGrange and Columbus had each won twice, so it came down to the number two singles match between Pauley and Sofia Eckstein of Columbus.

After Pauley and Eckstein split the first two sets, they played a tie-breaker to not only determine the match winner, but the region champion.

In the end, it was Pauley and her teammates doing the celebrating.

Pauley, one of three seniors in the LaGrange lineup, won the tie-breaker 10-7 to deliver the decisive point in a hard-fought championship match.

“It was really exciting,” Pauley said. “Sydney Edelson ran over and gave me a big hug, and my whole team came on the court. We’ve been second in the region every year, so it was really exciting to finally take home the first-place trophy.”

Also winning for LaGrange was Edelson at number one singles, and Ella Eiland and Wone Mi Oh at number one doubles.

Falling short in close matches was Adeline Lanier at number three singles, and Maddie Nolen and Sophie Nix at number two doubles.

It was a turnaround from the regular-season meeting between the two rivals when Columbus beat LaGrange 3-2.

Under long-time head coach Kenny Moore, LaGrange has won more than 40 combined region titles between the boys’ and girls’ team, and this is one he’ll long remember.

“Everyone is special, but when you can win the region, and turn it around from the regular season, it just adds a new layer of gratitude,” Moore said.

The difference between the two matches was the performance of the seniors.

In the first match between LaGrange and Columbus, Pauley stumbled at number two singles, and Eiland and Oh dropped the number one doubles match.

In the rematch, those outcomes were reversed, allowing LaGrange to avenge that earlier loss to Columbus.

“During the regular season when we played Columbus, all three of the seniors lost our matches,” Pauley said. “And then in the tournament, we turned them around and we won those, so that was exciting.”

At number one singles, Edelson took care of business handily, beating Brittany Mahone 6-1, 6-4.

In the number three singles match, Pranati Yadlapalli of Columbus beat Lanier 6-3, 6-2.

At number one doubles, Eiland and Oh handled Vrinda Hooda and Kelsey Human 6-3, 6-3, and Nolen and Nix lost to Ragan Faircloth and Carter Hudson 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at number two doubles.

In the number two singles match, Pauley lost the first set 7-5, but she bounced back to win the second set 6-3.

In the tie-breaker, Pauley surged to the early lead, and she never trailed on the way to the 10-7 win.

As was the case the first time around, it was a tight match, but there was a different outcome in the rematch.

“It was still a really close match,” Pauley said. “We battled back-and-forth. In the end, I just tried to stay more consistent and keep the ball in, and try to frustrate her, and try to make her make mistakes.”

Moore was impressed with the way Pauley kept her cool throughout the match.

“She just stayed calm, stayed within herself, and took the highs and the lows, and prevailed,” Moore said.

Also securing a key point was the team of Eiland and Oh, who like Pauley avenged an earlier loss to Columbus.

“They lost 6-1, 6-0 in the regular season, and then turned it around and beat them in straight sets,” Moore said. “It’s just awesome to see kids make a commitment, to work a plan, and just do whatever they can to make that plan work.”

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

LAGRANGE 3, COLUMBUS 2

No. 1 singles – Sydney Edelson (L) beat Brittany Mahone, 6-1, 6-4

No. 2 singles – Annie Pauley (L) beat Sofia Eckstein, 5-7, 6-3, 10-7

No. 3 singles – Pranati Yadlapalli (C) beat Adeline Lanier, 6-3, 6-2

No. 1 doubles – Ella Eiland and Wone Mi Oh (L) beat Vrinda Hooda and Kelsey Human, 6-3, 6-3

No. 2 doubles – Ragan Faircloth and Carter Hudson (C) beat Maddie Nolen and Sophie Nix, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)

SEMIFINALS

LAGRANGE 3

 SHAW 0

No. 1 singles – Sydney Edelson (L) beat Olivia Massengale, 6-0, 6-0

No 2 singles – Adeline Lanier (L) vs. Sierra Wilkerson, match pulled with Lanier leading 6-1, 3-1

No. 3 singles – Abby Grace Kornek (L) beat Shalyn Black, 6-0, 6-0

No. 1 doubles – Wone Mi Oh and Minchae Kim (L) beat Nylan Snead and Mishon King, 6-1, 6-0

No. 2 doubles – Maddie Nolen and Sophie Nix (L) vs. Jordan Street and Phebe McIntyre, match pulled with Nolen and Nix leading 6-0, 3-1