04/21/04 — Tennis -- Little drill, big reward for Warriors

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Tennis -- Little drill, big reward for Warriors

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 21, 2004 2:04 PM

Practice makes perfect.

In an attempt to shake off the week-long rust from spring break, veteran Eastern Wayne tennis coach Nancy Dawson conducted a unique practice Monday afternoon. She had the players work on tiebreakers for more than an hour, and the strategy paid off Tuesday afternoon.

The Warriors captured three tiebreaking matches in singles play and cruised past South Central 9-0 on the Herman Park courts. It was their second straight shutout as they reached the .500 mark (5-5) against Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opposition this season.

"The guys thought I was crazy yesterday," a grinning Dawson said. "I made them be competitive and told them the first one to win five tiebreakers could leave practice early.

"None of them won in an hour and fifteen minutes, which was longer than I should have given them. Coming back (from the break), I felt like they needed that competitive juice."

They'll listen to Dawson now, especially the top three seeds.

Top-seeded Alex Bryant struggled with his first serve in the first couple of games against Eric Warren, the Falcons' most athletic player. Bryant warded off the early-match troubles and claimed the first set 6-3.

Warren answered with a 7-5 win in the second set, but Bryant regained his composure. He concentrated on the key points and triumphed 7-2 in the 12-point tiebreaker.

Second-seeded Ben Ziccardi blitzed Greg Oglesby 6-0 in the opening set. Much like Warren, Oglesby regrouped and doubled up Ziccardi 6-3 in the second set. Ziccardi came back to win the tiebreaker 7-2.

Third-seeded James Arceneaux, a freshman, nearly followed the same pattern as Ziccardi. Arceneaux rolled to a 6-0 decision against Frank Quinto in the first set, but couldn't overcome numerous unforced errors in the second set. Quinto capitalized and rallied to tie the set at 6-6.

Arceneaux fell behind 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but pulled within 5-3. He won the next four points thanks to Quinto, who hit three unforced errors and double-faulted on match point.

"Those tiebreakers, just one or two balls, could change the complexion (of the match)," Dawson said. "When we played them the first time the scores were not indicative of how their guys played."

Ziccardi's win sealed the match for the Warriors, who claimed their second straight shutout in the ECC.

"Experience and nervousness," first-year South Central coach Lynette Worthington said of the tie-breaking losses. "They get scared of going for their shots and want to make sure they're inside the lines."

The Warriors' Andrew Smith and John King also prevailed in singles. Smith served up a 6-0, 6-0 win against Phillip Kamiski at the No. 4 slot. King dropped one game in a 6-0, 6-1 victory against fifth-seeded Demourn Daniels.

The tandems of Bryant-Ziccardi and Arceneaux-King cruised to easy wins in doubles.

South Central (0-7, 0-7 ECC) brought just five players and defaulted at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. The Falcons continue play today at conference leader West Carteret.

Eastern Wayne (5-8) gets another week-long break before entertaining county rival Southern Wayne on April 27.

Eastern Wayne 9, South Central 0

Singles -- No. 1 Alex Bryant (EW) d. Eric Warren 6-3, 5-7, 7-2; No. 2 Ben Ziccardi (EW) d. Greg Oglesby 6-0, 3-6, 7-2; No. 3 James Arceneaux (EW) d. Frank Quinto 6-0, 7-6 (5); No. 4 Andrew Smith (EW) d. Phillip Kamiski 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 John King (EW) d. Demourn Daniels 6-0, 6-1; No. 6 Chris Musser (EW) by default.

Doubles -- No. 1 Bryant-Ziccardi (EW) d. Warren-Oglesby 8-1; No. 2 Arceneaux-King (EW) d. Quinto-Kamiski 8-2; No. 3 Smith-Musser (EW) by default.