Returning five of seven starters from last year’s state championship squad, head coach Derek Shackelford’s team entered spring break with a 13-1 record and will hit the courts next week hoping to make another push to the top of Class AAAAAA.
“That has been our goal since day one. Win the region, make it back to the state finals and see what happens from there,” said Shackelford.
“In a lot of ways we’re still riding the wave of momentum from last year and we feel very confident any time we take the courts that we’re going to win that match.”
Roswell’s wave of momentum in 2012 took them to a surprising 22-0 season, a year that saw them not only win the school’s first state and region championships, but top long-time state power Walton in the state quarterfinals — ending a Lady Raider win-streak that spanned 147 matches and dated back to 2004.
Shackelford said he knows Walton, who has won 10 of the last 12 state championships in Georgia, will be the biggest obstacle towards repeating region and state championship honors this month.
“We ended their win-streak last year and they came back and ended ours this year,” he said, referring to Roswell’s 4-1 loss to Walton on March 21. “You could sense a real rivalry that day as they came out looking to get us back in that match.
“Now I think we have that same edge to us and we have that [rivalry] feeling about them.”
Shackelford went on to point out that the match with Walton was tight the whole way, with freshman Makenzie Ralston getting a win for Roswell at No. 2 singles, star senior Summer Ralston losing a back-and-forth match at No. 1 singles and narrow losses from both of his doubles teams — Sammi Taylor and Anmol Narang on the top line and Bridget Johnson and Madison Gulick holding down line two.
“We were oh so close to pulling it out and I know our girls are looking forward to a rematch,” said the Roswell coach.
Roswell’s next match will be in the region semifinals April 16 against Woodstock before a likely date with Walton April 18 in the 5AAAAAA championship.