Tennis -- EW comes through at ECC tournament
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 7, 2004 1:57 PM
Ben Ziccardi grabbed his racquet bag, adjusted his sweaty T-shirt and walked off the Herman Park tennis courts. A few seconds later, doubles mate Alex Bryant followed behind him.
The Eastern Wayne duo walked over to head coach Nancy Dawson, who excitedly wrote down their doubles score.
Ziccardi wiped the sweat from his brow.
"Do we have practice tomorrow?" Ziccardi asked.
"No. You've got tomorrow off," Dawson replied.
Ziccardi sighed, dropped his bag and wiped more sweat from his face. Bryant rubbed his eyes and did the same as he sat on the edge of the scorer's table.
The duo certainly got plenty of practice in Thursday's season-ending Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tennis tournament. Bryant-Ziccardi played four matches within a five-hour time frame and finally clinched the league's final regional berth with a tight 8-6 decision against West Carteret's Billy Coulter-Trey Winoski.
"They have played their hearts out all day long and it's really good to see them win," Dawson said. "I feel sorry for the other guys, but I'm glad my guys won."
The Warrior tandem wasn't the only worn-out team on an afternoon when the temperature soared close to 90 degrees and maybe a few points higher on the sun-drenched hard courts.
Jerome Frederick, the No. 1 seed at Southern Wayne, lumbered over to the scorer's table after his come-from-behind 9-8 (4) victory against Washington's Ben Peele.
"Does Jerome have to play any more?" the tired player quizzed.
"No. You're done," Dawson, who also served as the tournament director, said.
"Good, that's what I wanted to hear," a smiling Frederick said.
It seemed as if a third straight regional appearance wouldn't be in Frederick's future, however. Peele raced to a 6-3 lead in their eight-game, pro-set match, which would determine the league's sixth singles representative.
Frederick began taking one point at a time. He disregarded the score and decided to play his game. The change slowly started taking effect as Frederick capitalized on numerous unforced errors by Peele and climbed within 6-5.
They battled to ties of 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8 before Frederick gained control in the tiebreaker. Peele continued making the errors and couldn't overcome the miscues as Frederick prevailed 7-4 in the tiebreaker.
"After you keep playing for a while, the ball gets bigger and bigger," Frederick said. "You can start making more aggressive shots, angling them a little more ... making them tougher to get to.
"I knew he didn't like hitting the ball on the run, so I started hitting angle shots."
Peele concluded the day-long event with an 8-1 decision against the Saints' Michael Moore, and seized the ECC's final singles spot in the regional.
Bryant-Ziccardi, the Warriors' No. 1 seed, started the day with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of South Central's Vaughn-Demourn Daniels. They fell into the consolation round with a 6-0, 6-0 against top-seeded Dharin Patel-Billy Rawls of West Carteret.
Bryant-Ziccardi came close to clinching a regional berth against Charles B. Aycock's duo of David Williams-John Ball. The Warriors held an 8-7 lead, only to see the Golden Falcons rally for a 9-8 (5) win.
"What really won the match was good, mental concentration," Aycock coach Luke Vail said. "I felt like we played really well on the big points and the tiebreak. It was an uphill climb ... going back and forth.
"We were inconsistent returning the serve and that dug us in a hole a couple of times. We missed some easy volleys, but in the end, we hit the right shots at the right time."
"I thought Eastern Wayne had an advantage because they had probably played better competition because this was our number three doubles team. It was a good, quality win for David and John."
Aycock advanced all three doubles into next week's eastern regionals at the Wilson Parks and Recreation Department, and Fike High School.
Danny Fairchild and Brandon Howard, seeded third for the tournament, reached the regionals with a 6-2, 6-3 decision against Williams-Ball. Sean Kelly-David Dodson, who received an opening-round bye, secured their spot with a straight-set win against Coulter-Winoski.
The Patriot duo led 6-5 in the first set before Kelly-Dodson tied it at 6-6 and won the tiebreaker 7-3. Coulter-Winoski couldn't recover from the late-set collapse and fell 6-1 in the second set.
"The first set could have went either way," Vail said. "I thought we played really smart in the tiebreak and got our first serves in. That put us in the driver's seat and really broke the momentum of the match.
"The second set we played really well and their confidence was broken."
West Carteret enters next week's N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs as the league's top seed. The Patriots (15-0) obtained home-court advantage through the first four rounds and entertains the Big Eight South runner-up next Tuesday afternoon.
Washington (13-6) grabbed the second spot and travels to Mideastern champion West Brunswick. Third-seeded C.B. Aycock (12-7) will take a day trip to Northeastern Coastal champ Manteo.
Eastern Wayne and Kinston tied for the ECC's fourth berth. The Vikings (7-7) grabbed the playoff spot by winning a coin flip. They'll travel to the Big Eight South champion next Tuesday.
2004 Class 3-A
Eastern Carolina Conference
Boys Tennis Tournament
(at Herman Park)
First round: Ben Peele (Washington) d. Jennifer Spruill (W. Craven) 10-0; Frank Gainey (W. Carteret) d. Tyler Rose (Kinston) 10-0; Joshua Anderson (K) d. Ross Warren (W. Craven) 10-0; Matt McLamb (So. Wayne) d. Chris Mills (K) 10-0; John King (E. Wayne) d. Aaron Williams (W. Craven) 10-3; Jonathan Bowen (K) d. Jenna Willis 10-0.
Second round: Michael Moore (SW) d. Mike Onorato (W. Craven) 6-3, 6-1; Craig Davis (W) d. Anderson (K) 6-2, 6-2; Gainey (W. Carteret) d. Warren (W. Craven) 6-1, 6-1; Jamison Smith (K) d. King (EW) 6-2, 6-1; Jerome Frederick (SW) d. Bowen (K) 6-3, 6-1; Peele (W) d. James Arceneaux (EW) 6-0, 6-1; Wes Horne (W. Carteret) d. McLamb (SW) 6-1, 6-0.
Quarterfinals: James Walker (K) d. Moore (SW) 6-3, 6-0; Davis (W) d. Gainey (W. Carteret) 6-1, 6-1; Smith (K) d. Frederick (SW) 6-3, 6-1; Horne (W. Carteret) d. Peele 6-1, 6-3.
Gainey (W. Carteret) d. Moore (SW) 8-3; Frederick (SW) d. Peele (W) 9-8 (4); Peele (W) d. Moore (SW) 8-1.
First round: Alex Bryant-Ben Ziccardi (EW) d. Vaughn-Daniels (S. Central) 6-1, 6-0; David Williams-John Ball (C.B. Aycock) d. Andrew Smith-Chris Musser (EW) 6-2, 6-3; Billy Coulter-Trey Winoski (W. Carteret) d. Eric Warren-Phillip Kominski (SC) 7-5, 6-2; Will Whitley-Nathan Worsley (W) d. Craig Oglesby-Frank Quinto (SC) 6-7 (6), 6-4, 8-6.
Quarterfinals: Dhiran Patel-Billy Rawls (W. Carteret) d. Bryant-Ziccardi (EW) 6-0, 6-0; Danny Fairchild-Brandon Howard (CBA) d. Williams-Ball (CBA) 6-3, 6-3; Sean Kelly-David Dodson (CBA) d. Coulter-Winoski (W. Carteret) 7-6 (3), 6-1; Bryan Nichols-Kevin Stancil (W) d. Whitley-Worsley (W) 6-1, 6-1.
Williams-Ball (CBA) d. Bryant-Ziccardi (EW) 9-8 (5); Whitley-Worsley (W) d. Coulter-Winoski (W. Carteret) 8-2; Bryant-Ziccardi (EW) d. Coulter-Winoski 8-6.
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