To fill a varsity tennis team, a school must have seven players.
The Jefferson High School girls team has that number — exactly.
What that means is each player must show up, must stay healthy, must play at the varsity level, and of course, do it well.
So far, so good, coach Mike Paul said.
“The girls are off to a really good start. We have not lost a match in the region,” he said. “We have seven girls, which is the minimum number you can have for a varsity team. So every girl had to step up.”
The Lady Dragons are 6-2 overall and 4-0 in region 8-AA following its 5-0 defeat of Social Circle on March 21 in Social Circle.
No. 1 singles player Tristan McGarity (6-1, 6-0), no. 2 Abi Muesse (6-3, 6-3), and no. 3 Cailyn Diianni (6-0, 6-0) dominated as did the doubles teams. Charley Beatty/ Olivia Yates (6-0, 6-1) and Kadi Perry/ Rheagan Wessels (6-1, 6-1) won handily.
Of those players, three are freshman, including no. 3 singles player Diianni and the no. 2 doubles team of Perry and Wessels.
“They are playing exceptionally well for freshmen,” Paul said.
The no. 1 player McGarity is 6-0 and “has been a real anchor” for the team since her return from the basketball season.
Muesse, another experienced player, is 4-0 in region play and 6-2 overall.
The returning doubles duo of Beatty and Yates is also strong, he added.
“We just have been real balanced,” Paul said. “There has been no fluctuation, they’ve been very consistent. No one has gotten sick and no one has gotten hurt. That lineup has been steady from day one.”
The Lady Dragons will meet Washington-Wilkes at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home (Jefferson Middle School courts). JHS beat the Tigers earlier in the season 4-1.
After that, Jefferson’s remaining games are against Social Circle on April 9, Rabun County on April 10 and Greene County on April 11.
The single-elimination region tournament is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 17 in Jefferson at Jefferson Middle School.
The top seed faces no. 4, no. 2 and no. 3 play each other, with the losers from those matches determining the final seeding entering the playoffs. JHS is currently in first.
Five teams play in region 8-AA, with the top four qualifying to the first round of the state tournament. Seeding out of the region tournament is most important, Paul said, with the top seeds earning the right to host the first rounds of the state tournament.