C-EPC boys tennis -- Day 1
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 5, 2004 2:07 PM
SNOW HILL -- A first-round upset and a tight semifinal-round singles match in the Class 1-A Carolina Conference ranks highlighted opening-day play in the 2004 Carolina/Eastern Plains 2-A Conference boys tennis tournament.
North Pitt's tandem of Corey Ward-Ron Redmond etched their names in the school's history book by becoming the first-year program's first-ever regional qualifiers. Ward-Redmond rallied from a 4-1 second-set deficit to upset fourth-seeded Tyler Cannon-Jackson Perry of SouthWest Edgecombe 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Top-seeded singles player Wesley Lovelady, from Rosewood, started the day with a straight-set shutout against Farmville Central's Brandon Cox. However, the junior received a stern test from Ricky Galloway of Spring Creek in the semifinals. They split the first two sets before Lovelady pulled away 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
"The match between Ricky and Wes was one of the best matches, I thought, of the day," Gators coach Robert Jones said. "Wes hit the ball very consistently and Ricky started to spray it around. Part of that was probably due to fatigue.
"I expect a real good match between Wes and Will (Daniel) this afternoon."
Other than those two good battles on a breezy and sunny afternoon, everything else went according to seeds. The nine teams in the combination conference dueled for five hours, reaching the final round in singles and doubles in both the EPC and Carolina Conference championship brackets. Those matches will be contested today.
Eight regional berths in each classification were also decided.
Regular-season champion Greene Central qualified its entire starting lineup with Chris Hardy and Lin Hall in singles, and the doubles of Andrew Hulbert-Brent Darden and Dustin Grant-Brian Sugg. Hardy claimed a pair of straight-set wins along with Hall, who lost just one game in two matches.
"I thought Chris played particularly well in his match against Alex Mills, who is a solid player," Rams coach Brad Sauls said. "I think he showed in that match how much he has improved the last year. His consistency has really picked up and so has his confidence.
"Lin is really pumped up about individuals and is looking forward to regionals. He really went out with a lot of intensity. He did a good job of being aggressive, going for his shots and executing them."
Hulbert-Darden and Grant-Sugg had no trouble advancing through their respective parts of the bracket.
"Brent and Andrew are just awesome players," Sauls said. "They work well together and make a doubles team that I think anyone probably wouldn't want to face. Brian and Dustin played really solid tennis. They beat a good team from North Lenoir fairly easily, who had beaten a very good team, I thought, from Tarboro in the first round.
"That win will give them some confidence heading into the regionals."
North Lenoir had a busy afternoon.
Before the Hawks could begin tournament play, they had to finish a suspended duals match against Ayden-Grifton. North Lenoir prevailed 5-1 and seized the EPC's No. 2 berth for the upcoming N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
The Hawks' tandem of Billy Kirk-Paul Eubanks earned its second straight regional berth. Teammate Mills picked up a regional spot in singles.
SouthWest Edgecombe's Blake Leonard won a three-set thriller in his first-round match and secured a regional bid.
Lovelady, who has played the No. 1 slot for Rosewood all season, is headed to next week's eastern regionals at Herman Park. He'll be joined by teammates Matt Mitchell and Joey Churchwell, who won their first-round doubles match.
Spring Creek's qualifiers are Galloway and Daniel in singles; and the doubles of Cliff and Grey Wilson. Wilson-Wilson are the reigning Carolina Conference champions, while Daniel was last year's singles runner-up to David Frost of Ayden-Grifton.
"They should hopefully take care of business today," Jones said of Wilson-Wilson. "They they'll probably meet Hulbert and Darden (in the C/EPC final). I want them to have fun and just play hard.
"The competition will make them better."
Daniel and Lovelady meet this afternoon for the Carolina singles title.
Eastern Plains Conference
Quarterfinals: Lin Hall (Greene Central) d. Blake Brittain (Tarboro) 6-0, 6-0; Blake Leonard (SW Edgecombe) d. Jared O'dell (N. Lenoir) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2; Alex Mills (NL) d. Brian Mattern (T) 6-1, 6-3; Chris Hardy (GC) d. Derek Turner (SWE) 6-0, 6-0.
Semifinals: Hardy (GC) d. Mills (NL) 6-1, 6-2; Hall (GC) d. Leonard (SWE) 6-0, 6-1
Finals: Hardy (GC) vs. Hall (GC)
First round: Gerry Floyd-Ryan Ipock (NL) d. Merendino-Peter Heffley (T) 6-0, 6-1; Corey Hamilton-Aaron Walker (SWE) d. Kajuan Williams-David Fichus (NP) 6-1, 6-2.
Quarterfinals: Brent Darden-Andrew Hulbert (GC) d. Floyd-Ipock 6-0, 6-0; Corey Ward-Ron Redmond (N. Pitt) d. Tyler Cannon-Jackson Perry (SWE) 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3; Billy Kirk-Paul Eubanks (NL) d. Johnathan Pearce-Chris Taylor 4-6, 6-2, 7-5; Brian Sugg-Dustin (GC) d. Hamilton-Walker (SWE) 6-0, 6-0.
Semifinals: Darden-Hulbert (GC) d. Ward-Redmond (NP) 6-0, 6-0; Grant-Sugg (GC) d. Kirk-Eubanks 6-1, 6-2.
Finals: Darden-Hulbert (GC) vs. Grant-Sugg (GC)
Quarterfinals: Wes Lovelady (Rosewood) d. Brandon Cox (Farm. Central) 6-0, 6-0; Ricky Galloway (Spring Creek) d. Kyle Beach (Ayden-Grifton) 6-1, 6-1; Brandon Jordan (AG) d. Brandon Hietpas (R) 6-1, 6-3; Will Daniel (SC) d. Matt Howard (FC) 6-2, 6-2.
Semifinals: Lovelady (R) d. Galloway (SC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Daniel (SC) d. Jordan (AG) 6-2, 6-3.
Finals: Lovelady (R) vs. Daniel (SC)
Quarterfinals: Cliff Wilson-Grey Wilson (SC) d. Ty Johnson-Daniel Ellis (R) 6-0, 6-0; Matt Leggett-Sam Sutton (AG) d. David Newton-Charlie Gray 6-1, 6-1; Matt Mitchell-Joey Churchwell (R) d. Brandon Strickland-Frederick Ellis (SC) 6-2, 6-2; Ben Adams-James Newsome (FC) d. Eric Dendy-Jamaris Hardy (AG) 6-0, 6-0.
Semifinals: Wilson-Wilson (SC) d. Leggett-Sutton (AG) 6-0, 6-0; Adams-Newsome (FC) d. Mitchell-Churchwell (R) 6-2, 6-4.
Finals: Wilson-Wilson (SC) vs. Adams-Newsome (FC)
Singles: Brittain (T) d. O'dell (NL) 4-2, ret.; Mattern (T) d. Turner (SWE) 6-1, 6-0; Hietpas (R) d. Howard (FC) 6-2, 6-3.
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