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Tennis: West girls sweep Hillgrove 3-0 to reach Final Four
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Lilly Lancaster returns a shot Tuesday during West Forsyth's 3-0 win against Hillgrove in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs. - photo by Jacob Smith

West Forsyth's girls tennis team won their Elite Eight match against Hillgrove on Tuesday in straight sets, 3-0. 

West has yet to allow an official point to any of their opponents over three matches in the Class 7A playoffs. 

“We played the way we’re capable of playing,” West coach Steve Kolkka said. “I keep telling them if we take care of business and play how we can, things will work out of us.” 

The Wolverines relied on their two freshmen, Elle Sceney and Lilly Lancaster, at first and second singles in the match and they did not disappoint. Sceney won her first match 6-1 and the second 6-3. Lancaster won both sets 6-1 and was the first to finish, giving West the 1-0 lead. 

Senior Bri Laidman and freshman Mabry Bowron played first doubles in the match and won 6-1, 6-2 to give West the 3-0 sweep. Sophomore Lily Connelly was playing third singles, but the match was cut before completion. 

Kolkka said that his long career might make him jaded during the state championship run, but that he finds his joy in watching his team celebrate. 

“My joy comes from seeing them go through this,” Kolkka said. “I love seeing them because they’ve never gotten to

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- photo by Jacob Smith
do this. It’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. They know it’s something special that they’re doing.”

West’s last loss was in the Region 6-7A championship to Lambert. West played with everyone shifted up in the rotation due to Sceney having to miss the match. 

Kolkka said he would love nothing more than to meet Lambert for a rematch in the Class 7A state championship. 

“That would be so sweet,” Kolkka said. “It was a good, close match, even without Elle.”

With every starter other than Laidman having at least two more years on the court with West after the completion of this season, Kolkka said that Laidman has really taken over the team.

“Bri has really stepped up this year and taken a leadership role,” Kolkka said. “Both on the court and behind the scenes. She makes sure everybody gets together. There’s a lot of team comradery and team chemistry going on this year.” 

West will travel to Walton in Marietta next week for its Final Four match. 

Kolkka added that most of his singles players practice seven days a week at their academy, so he wants to focus on doubles play in practice. 

“We are working on doubles strategy and core movements on the court,” Kolkka said. “That’s what’s going to help us the most right now. And we try to do drills where we keep them moving so they’re not running out of steam by the end of a match.”