Warriors in place as region favorite
by Adam Carrington
April 14, 2013 11:47 PM | 2100 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jaryd Reese is the singles ace for a North Cobb team that’s expected to contend for the Region 4AAAAAA title.
<Br>Staff file photo by Laura Moon
Jaryd Reese is the singles ace for a North Cobb team that’s expected to contend for the Region 4AAAAAA title.
Staff file photo by Laura Moon
The North Cobb boys tennis team is stacked with talent and favored to win a region title for the second straight season this week.

But with Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain and Harrison challenging, the Warriors could get upset if they’re not careful.

Top-seeded North Cobb will face No. 4 Harrison in the semifinals of the Region 4AAAAAA tournament Tuesday at Marietta High School, with No. 2 Hillgrove and No. 3 Kennesaw Mountain pitted in the other semifinal. The championship matches for both the boys and girls tournaments will be Thursday.

All four teams have already qualified for the Class AAAAAA state tournament, on account of their top-four region placements.

“North Cobb is definitely the favorite,” Hillgrove coach Scott Hill said. “Their singles are very strong.”

North Cobb (12-0) looks stronger than the team that fell to eventual champion Alpharetta in the semifinals of the Class AAAAA state tournament last season. Both Jaryd Reese and Andre Canino have improved at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, while the Warriors added freshman Ramon Mitchell to their lineup at No. 3.

North Cobb also returned all of its doubles players from last season, but its lineups have been slightly altered because of stronger chemistry between certain players.

Ronak Mody, who played No. 3 singles last year, is now paired with freshman Jake Tuchmann. Both players are around the 5-foot-7, yet they’ve shown that they have quick hands at the net and are difficult to beat.

Unlike the No. 1 doubles duo of Mody and Tuchmann, the No. 2 team of Bradford Lahmann and Jacob Hightower are both taller than 6 feet.

The lineup North Cobb is expected to use Tuesday is the one it’s used since winning a tournament in LaGrange on March 16.

“Honestly, it was trial and error,” North Cobb coach Bonnie Reedy said when asked how she matched the two pairings. “Team chemistry is so critical.”

The remaining three Region 4AAAAAA semifinalists have a few weapons of their own. North Cobb barely survived Hillgrove and Kennesaw Mountain, winning both matches 3-2, and its 4-1 win over Harrison was closer than the score indicated.

Hillgrove’s Matt Hill has been touted as the region’s best player.

The senior UAB signee is undefeated at No. 1 singles this season, and fellow senior Nick Orvino is in his fourth year playing at No. 1 doubles, with Davis Adams his current partner.

Behind Hill, sophomore Maddux Mitchell has excelled at No. 2 singles this season, and Hillgrove’s No. 3 singles line is the strongest it has been in five seasons, with freshman Henry Squire filling the slot.

“We can’t start thinking about previous points, or points, that have yet to be played because that puts pressure on you,” said Scott Hill, who has led Hillgrove to a 13-3 record. “We have to keep pressure on our opponents and not make a lot of unforced errors. That’s something that we’ve improved on, and I don’t think that we’ve peaked yet.”

Kennesaw Mountain (16-2) also has a solid 1-2 punch behind singles players Aaron Barris and Joe Klokow. The Mustangs have added depth this season with two freshman additions, making them solid at all positions.

Harrison (10-8) may not be quite as strong No. 1 singles as the other three teams, with its strength lying in doubles play.

Peter Heflin, Ben Maryland, Whit Barfield, Dylan Harvey and Lee Chadwick have been getting the bulk of the playing time at the doubles positions, and that could put pressure for North Cobb’s singles to come through when the Warriors and Hoyas play each other Tuesday.

“Harrison’s always had great doubles teams,” Reedy said. “We’re going to have to take at least one doubles line and hope the singles can win the other two.”
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