The Marist girls’ tennis team finished as state runner-up to Johns Creek, but head coach Frank Kissel said the season was still a success.
“We lost three matches this year and two of them were to Johns Creek,” Kissel said. “They matched up with us and they were solid in No. 1 singles and both doubles.”
Marist has long held a grip on the Final Four, and that does not seem to be in jeopardy of ending any time soon.
Kissel uses the history angle to keep his team in high spirits for the next season.
“We have been playing team tennis for 23 years and we are the only school in the state of Georgia that has been in every Final Four for all 23 years,” Kissel said. “I told them after the finals loss that there will be some years when teams just having your number. I told them they played as well as they could have played in the finals.”
Marist has 20 state championships, including a state record 12 straight from 1995 to 2006. The Lady War Eagles have made the championship match all but two years since 1981.
Kissel said five of the starting seven will return next year and the Lady War Eagles will make a run at a 21st title.
“We have an alternate who should be able to fit right in and we should be right back in it next season,” Kissel said.
Kissel said the level of competition he puts on the schedule is a big reason why Marist routinely makes the state semifinals.
“We looked at the schedule and of our 25 matches, 21 of the schools we played made it to the state playoffs,” Kissel said. “I tell them at the beginning of the year that I don’t really care about an undefeated team. I will play the toughest competition that I can find, so that when you do get into the state playoffs, you will have faced some really strong competition.”