The Glynn Academy boys left it all on the court Monday. Unfortunately, Kell had just a bit more in the tank.
Glynn fell 3-2 to Kell in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs, the decisive match being a three-hour marathon at No. 3 singles between the Terrors’ Graham Meetz and the Longhorn’s Cooper Gates.
“You’re going to get this sometimes,” said Glynn head coach Marcus Long.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, so you see matches like this every once and a while. You don’t see it a lot, and sometimes you don’t remember the ones you win, but you always remember the ones you lose.
“But we couldn’t have asked our guys to do anything else today. We couldn’t ask them to play any harder. You can’t fault our effort. They worked as hard as they could, and they gave us everything they had… I’m incredibly proud of them. It’s an honor to coach a team like this. “
It didn’t take long after the matchup’s 10 am start time to see the contest would come down to the wire.
The Terrors made quick work of their opponents at both doubles lines with the tandem of Wesley Gash and Hayes Chitty defeating Jack Murphy and Will Fulton 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1, and the duo of Cam Gazaway and Banks Harrison earning a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Luke Paxton and Stefano Gonzalez at No. 2.
While Brock Mitchell and David Thompson put up admiral fights at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, Kell’s MJ Lambert and Evan Fergison were able to grind out 6-1, 7-5, and 6-4, 7-5 victories, respectively .
Suddenly, all eyes were on the third line.
Meetz went up early in the first set, and even found himself with set point on multiple occasions, but Gates was able to work himself back, stealing the opening set 7-6 (4) on an ace.
The second set proved to be even more exciting, partially due to some outside factors that resulted in a code yellow being called and campus being momentarily put on shutdown. The players briefly left the court before returning fewer than five minutes later.
Coming off the short pause in action, Meetz wrapped up a strong second set 6-0 to tie the match and send it into a decisive third.
As the energy waned on both sides of the net, the players traded points. Meetz went up 3-2 before Gates ran off two straight to take a 4-3 lead in the set. After another point for Meetz came perhaps the highlight of the match – a long, back-and-forth at deuce to decide who would go up 5-4.
Nearly 30 minutes elapsed as the players battled for the crucial advantage with Meetz finally taking the point. Soon after, Meetz had match point in another deuce, but this time, Gates pulled out the point he needed to even the score.
The match eventually went into another tiebreaker as it moved past the three-hour mark, and again, Gates did just enough to pull out the set and send Kell to the quarterfinals.
“On both sides of the net, it was just incredible play,” Long said. “You give a lot of credit to the kid from Kell, he played his heart di lui out di lui, and Graham played his heart di lui out too. Somebody’s got to lose that match unfortunately. You hate to see either one of them lose.
“But I thought Graham, for a freshman, did every we could possibly ask him to do, and probably more. We’re super excited about him as a freshman. This is just the beginning for him. But to watch a match like that go back and forth, and the rollercoaster of emotions that you go on through that, it was an amazing match to watch. “
While it may take some time for the sting of defeat to dissipate for Glynn Academy, the team has no reason to hand their heads.
The Terrors’ boys won their first region title since 2018, and each player in the program’s playoff lineup is set to return next season.
“We will not graduate a starter, so that’s exciting,” Long said. “The key for us is going to be putting in the work in the offseason. That’s something we’ve tried to focus on a lot the last couple of years, making sure that these guys are taking good care of themselves, playing hard, and working hard in the offseason, not just when we’re playing.
“I think that’s been a big key to us kind of turning things around here and getting us back to where we want to be. We feel like we’re headed in the right direction; we just want to keep building, and I think we’re going to be real happy with the things we see after that. “