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Roswell pulls out thrilling title win over No. 1 Peachtree Ridge girls

JONESBORO -- The championship match for the Class AAAAA girls tennis title between No. 1 Peachtree Ridge and No. 2 Roswell lived up to the hype and buildup. Roswell, though, pulled out a thrilling 3-2 win over the Lions to take home the crown.

Roswell, which won the school's first tennis championship, finished with a perfect 22-0 record and had knocked off Lowndes 3-0 in its semifinal to make it to the title match.

Peachtree Ridge suffered only its third loss of the season and finished 19-3.

With the match tied at 2-2 following Jena Kelly's 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles over McKinsey Fiveash, the focus turned to the only match still going on. Peachtree Ridge's Abby Owens and Roswell's Summer Ralston were battling in the third set at No. 2 singles.

Ralston had taken the first set 7-6 (7-1), but Owens was strong and came back to win the second set 6-4.

In the third set, Ralston took a 5-4 lead and was serving for the match.

But Owens hung tough to break and make it 5-5.

Ralston broke right back and took a 6-5 lead with her serve coming up.

Ralston held and when Owens' shot at 40-30 sailed long, the Roswell team stormed the court to celebrate.

"That was an amazing three-hour match and what an effort by Abby Owens," Roswell head coach Derek Shackelford said. "Summer has only beaten her one other time, but it's been a while. For Summer to come in and battle back, especially when she was down 4-1 in the first set, to win just shows you how tough Summer is. She just wouldn't give in and that says so much about her mental toughness.

"And give Peachtree Ridge a lot of credit, because they were tough and battled at every line out there."

Peachtree Ridge took a 1-0 lead in the finals when the No. 1 doubles team of Erin Mills and Ali Mills defeated Roswell's Madison Gulick and Diana Sas 6-4, 6-3.

Roswell answered quickly at No. 1 singles when Laura Patterson knocked off Jessica Northcutt 6-3, 6-1 to even the match at 1-1.

Roswell took a 2-1 lead at No. 2 doubles when Anmol Narang and Sammi Taylor got past Rachel Anderson and Mary Frances Greenwood 6-3, 6-4.

That set up the drama after Kelly's quick win at No. 3, which went primarily unnoticed as most of the focus centered on the grinding match at No. 2 singles between Owens and Ralston.

And for the Peachtree Ridge program, it was a season that ended just one win short of the title. But what won't be lost is a great run with an outstanding group of players.

"This has been an incredible season," Peachtree Ridge head coach Chrissie Bolt said. "That match right there just showed how much this team fought to the bitter end. Abby fought so hard and you can't ask for any more heart than she gave and this team gave. (The match at No. 2 singles) was one of the best high school matches I've ever seen and we knew it would come down to the end.

"It's hard to put into words what this team has done and what they mean to me. Of course, we're disappointed. But it's the farthest this program has ever been. We had a great run and we'll have to come back next year and try it again."

After a rain delay delayed play for over three hours to start the day, Peachtree Ridge advanced to the championship match with an easy 3-0 semifinal win over No. 9 Kennesaw Mountain.

Owens won first at No. 2 singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Marilyn Corn.

The Mills' duo won 6-2, 6-2 over Marysa Nesmith and Heidi Seaburgh to make it 2-0.

Less than minute later, Anderson and Greenwood clinched it at No. 2 doubles with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Katie Manroe and Abby Seabaugh to send the Lions to the title match.

Kennesaw Mountain, which had won 13 straight matches, finished its season at 21-4.