It’s safe to say that tennis is a way of life for Stratford’s Eliza Freedman.
And the Eagles standout continues to soak in the enjoyment of playing the sport and coming through with results at a high level.
Freedman, who has played tennis since around the age of 3, continued to build on a staggering record for Stratford this season. Her 13-1 record this year added to a 61-5 mark in a total of four seasons. Three of those five losses have come to Brookstone’s top singles player, and another of the losses came in the GISA individual finals as an eighth-grader.
“I started when I was about 3 or 4 and I just played ever since,” said Freedman, The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Girls Tennis Player of the Year for the third consecutive year. “I like the team aspect of it and being able to play at school and my friends and have fun with it.”
In 10 regular-season matches this year, she lost a grand total of 14 games. In her completed posteason matches, Freedman lost just four games.
“What Eliza has meant to this program, aside from all those wins as a No. 1 since being in the eighth grade, is that she plays incredibly well for her school and her team,” Stratford head coach Jaime Kaplan said. “This year, she performed better for her team and school than when she is playing for herself. Some of those people she beats in high school matches she would not beat if she was playing for herself. She is a very selfless player.”
Freedman is among the group of athletes who faced the question of how the Eagles would fare with their move over from the GISA to the GHSA. Led by Freedman, the Eagles girls tennis program has emphatically answered the challenge.
This season, Stratford went 14-2, finishing as Area 1-1A runner-up before falling 3-2 to Wesleyan in the second round of the GHSA Class 1A private school tournament. That followed up the postseason push of a year ago when the Eagles placed second in the state to Brookstone.
“We did so well last year, so when we did that, it made us just want to do well,” Freedman said. “(In GHSA) there were so many more schools, it was good to know that we could be successful in both GISA and GHSA.”
Predictably, Freedman and her teammates have their eyes on big things next year while also focusing in on the overall big picture.
“We are hoping to do as well as we did last year as far as going really far in state,” Freedman said. “I’m sure we’ll see Brookstone in the finals, hopefully we can beat them then. We have to take it one match at a time. With some other schools like FPD, we won 4-1, but there were some really close matches.”
Previous All-Middle Georgia selections this spring
All-Middle Georgia Girls Tennis Team
Player of the Year: Eliza Freedman, Stratford
Alyssa Ferland, Stratford, Soph.
She went 18-0 overall, 14-0 at No. 2 singles in her first year of high school tennis.
Eliza Freedman, Stratford, Jr.
The returning first-teamer and player of the year went 13-1 at No. 1 singles and is 61-5 in singles career at Stratford.
Asheton McAllister, Veterans, Sr.
She went 11-2 at No. 2 singles and helped fourth-seed Warhawks to Region 1-5A title.
Maggie Moody/Ruth Samuel, FPD, Srs.
The pair went 9-0 together in No. 1 doubles; Moody played singles and doubles, Samuel was 18-2 at No. 1 doubles.
Kayley Perry, West Laurens, Soph.
The versatile underclassman went 15-3 at No. 3 singles and won two matches in Class 4A playoffs, with three shutouts in four sets.
All-Middle Georgia schedule
A look at the schedule for All-Middle Georgia teams to be released with the days the results will be posted on Macon.com and in The Telegraph:
June 16/17: Boys tennis
June 17/18: Scholar-Athlete of the Year
June 18/19: Girls track
June 19/20: Boys track
June 20/21: Girls soccer
June 21/22: Boys soccer
June 22/23: Baseball
June 23/24: Girls Athlete of the Year
June 24/25: Boys Athlete of the Year