Mallory Gilmer
<Br>Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
Mallory Gilmer
Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
slideshow
Billie Morgan
<Br>Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
Billie Morgan
Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
slideshow
Player of the Year: Gilmer perseveres in pressure-packed season
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
May 23, 2015 12:57 AM | 518 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mallory Gilmer
<Br>Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
Mallory Gilmer
Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
slideshow
WOODSTOCK — Mallory Gilmer was nearly unmatched on the tennis court this season. Playing No. 1 singles, the Etowah ace went 16-2, defeating each Cherokee County opponent she faced, and she handed one of the top players from eventual state champion Walton, Bella Kuse, a loss during the regular season. Gilmer, a sophomore, appeared immune to the pressure. “Tennis is such an individual sport where you don’t get to be a part of a team very often,” she said. “I love that aspect of it, and the girls just fed off of each other, and I never felt the pressure too bad.” Expectations coming into the season were high after Etowah reached the second round of the state playoffs in 2014. Talented additions, including Gilmer, had many observers thinking this could be a banner year for the Lady Eagles. “We didn’t try to get ahead of ourselves,” Gilmer said. “We just tried to take it a match at a time and, overall, I think it was a great experience for the whole team.” By the end of the season, Etowah had worked its way to the Class AAAAAA state semifinals. While Gilmer couldn’t have gotten that far on her own, the Lady Eagles couldn’t have done it without her. For her accomplishments this season, Gilmer is the 2015 Cherokee Tribune Girls Tennis Player of the Year. Gilmer has played tennis for nearly 10 years. Once a soccer player, she gave up that sport to play tennis full-time. Now, Gilmer practices for five hours every Tuesday and Thursday. The other five days of the week, she “takes it a little easier.” Gilmer joined the team at Etowah after playing her freshman year at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy in east Cobb, but she wasn’t a stranger to coach Billie Morgan. “I remember watching her play since she was young,” Morgan said. “She and her sister, Madeline, both play and I’ve seen them at Eagle Watch since they were both little. Mallory was playing against the high school girls even then and I knew that she was going to be a very good addition, if I ever got her.” Morgan said she looked forward to the day that Gilmer would find her way to Etowah. Now, she’s excited about another two seasons with the talented player. “She is a fantastic player,” Morgan said. “I really do look forward to seeing her, over the next two years, get even better than she was this year, and she was very good this year.” As much as Morgan is looking forward to having Gilmer on her roster, the Etowah ace is eager to see what she can accomplish with her team in the future. “It’s very, very exciting,” Gilmer said. “I can’t wait to see what is to come for this team.” Between now and next season, Gilmer will play in junior tournaments. The recruiting process has also begun for her and she is looking at possible college destinations. “It’s a very stressful process, but also exciting to see all the opportunities ahead,” Gilmer said. “You get to pick where you are going to spend four years.”
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Coach of the Year: Morgan finds the recipe for success
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
May 23, 2015 12:56 AM | 552 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Billie Morgan
<Br>Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
Billie Morgan
Staff photo by Kathryn Ingall
slideshow
WOODSTOCK — For Etowah girls tennis coach Billie Morgan, putting together a lineup was a bit like crafting a recipe. Not all of the elements came together at the same time. Some players had been members of the varsity program in years past, others were added as freshmen and two more transferred in from a private school. All of that required ongoing changes until Etowah got it just right as the postseason arrived. “It took a lot of time,” Morgan said. “We tried a lot of different things. We did a lot of flipping to try to get the best fit, especially for the doubles teams. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t, really. It was most of the season before we got things right.” Etowah finished second to Walton in the Region 5AAAAAA regular-season standings after suffering a 4-1 defeat to the Lady Raiders. The Lady Eagles then got their wish for a second meeting as both teams advanced to the championship round of the region tournament. Despite walking off the court from their semifinal match at 1 a.m., Etowah was back in action the next day and gave Walton the toughest match it saw all season. The Lady Raiders, who did not play a semifinal match after their opponent forfeited, won 3-2 and went into the state playoffs as the No. 1 seed from the region. Etowah went into the playoffs as a No. 2 seed and swept Johns Creek and North Gwinnett over the first two round. The Lady Eagles got a little trouble from Alpharetta in the quarterfinals, but they still managed to advance with a 3-1 victory. That set up a semifinal-round match with Kennesaw Mountain, where the Lady Eagles saw their season end with a 3-1 loss. Kennesaw Mountain went on to play Walton for the state title, and the Lady Raiders won a third straight state championship with a 3-0 sweep. Walton surrendered just five points all season — all to Etowah. The Lady Eagles also played each of the other five schools five in Cherokee County, winning 5-0 each time. For elevating her team to compete at the highest level, Morgan is the 2015 Girls Tennis Coach of the Year. “We really didn’t have a tough match until we played Walton,” Morgan said. “After that match, I made some changes in the lineup and put the girls where they should have been and I think that worked out well, for the most part.” Morgan would have liked to have faced the Lady Raiders one more time for the state title. “The game of tennis is like any other game,” Morgan said. “You have good days and you have bad days. We all do. I know my girls were upset, but that will just make the fight harder for next year.” Most of Etowah’s players will be back. Mallory Gilmer and Ana Albertson, who transferred to Etowah after playing the first part of their high school careers at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy in east Cobb, will be back for their junior and senior seasons, respectively. Hannah Hutchings and Emily Ayers were incoming freshmen this year. Samantha Kaczaral, Nikki Gilner and Ailsa Cruikshank were already in the Lady Eagles’ program, and because they knew the incoming players, Morgan said it was easy for them to jell. They are all year-round players who have been active in tennis for the majority of their lives. “They all have a rapport with each other,” Morgan said. “You really can’t make the team unless you really know how to play and play in tournaments. Most of them will be back next year and I expect to have a good lineup and be back at the top.”
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Forty-eight hours after DeMarre Carroll left Game 1 with an injury, the Hawks lost sharpshooter Kyle Korver to an ankle injury in Game 2. 
<BR>Associated Press photo
Forty-eight hours after DeMarre Carroll left Game 1 with an injury, the Hawks lost sharpshooter Kyle Korver to an ankle injury in Game 2.
Associated Press photo
slideshow
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides