10/12/04 — New champs to be crowned

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New champs to be crowned

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2004 1:56 PM

SNOW HILL -- Graduation and a lineup change left the door open for two new champions in the 2004 Class 2-A Eastern Plains and Carolina 1-A Conference girls tennis tournaments.

Melissa Beddard, last year's 2-A singles champ, graduated and her successor will be a former Greene Central teammate -- either Summer Chase or Holly Mace, or Tarboro's Robin Ellis.

Two-time defending Carolina singles champion Stacy Smith of Spring Creek is playing doubles with Sarah Warren, and that duo advanced to the championship match. Rosewood teammates Kayce Brantham and Sidney Worrell duel today at 3:05 p.m. for supremacy on the singles scene.

Nine teams brought at least six players apiece to compete in the main draw during the two-day tournament that will determine the singles and doubles qualifiers for next week's N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional individual championships.

Chase (25-3), the top seed, breezed into the finals with back-to-back, straight-set victories. She hammered Miranda Spain of Tarboro 6-1, 6-1 and recorded the same score in the semifinals against Spain's teammate, Minta Dupree.

"Summer played an outstanding match against Dupree in the third round," Greene Central coach Donald Clark. "She was hitting her ground strokes with a lot of confidence and made very few errors. Summer has really elevated her game in the last few weeks, and she is making our team better with her improvement."

While Chase dominated the top half of the draw, Mace (24-1) experienced little trouble in the bottom half. She blitzed Tarboro's Alison Thompson 6-1, 6-1 and faced Thompson's teammate, Robin Ellis, in the semifinals this afternoon. Ellis is the No. 2 seed in the 12-player singles bracket.

The top-seeded tandem of Meredith Rouse-Sarah Moore, the reigning EPC champions, posted a 2-0 record on first-day play. The duo shut out North Pitt's Kornisha Dudley-Sierra Robinson and followed that up with a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Tarboro's Jasmine Burroughs-Miranda Spain.

Fellow Rams Christi Murphy-Ashley Harrell lost one game in their opening-round victory against the Panthers' Danielle Abeyounis-Markia Camper. The duo survived a tight second set against North Lenoir's Morgan Worthington-Mary-Linton Smith and prevailed 6-2, 7-5.

Murphy-Harrell led 5-1 in the second match until Worthington-Smith tied it at 5-5.

"I tip my hat to the North Lenoir girls; they kept coming after us and played some great tennis in the second set," Clark said. "I was most pleased with Christi's play at the net and Ashley's play on the backline late in the match when we had to win some big points."

Worthington-Smith faced a Greene Central opponent for the first time this season and fell to 8-1. The duo qualified for next week's eastern regionals along with Rouse-Moore, Burroughs-Spain and Murphy-Harrell.

"Since they've been on the court together, they're awesome," first-year Hawks coach Courtney Harrell said. "They just click."

Veteran Rosewood coach Bert Perkins is anxiously awaiting today's Brantham-Worrell match. Brantham, the No. 1 seed and a junior, carries a 15-3 record into the match against the younger Worrell, who is seeded No. 2.

Perkins thinks experience should factor into the outcome, but hopes that one player does not concede the match to the other since they're teammates.

"They sit around and joke about playing each other," Perkins said. "When they get on the court I hope, I don't know that this is the way it will be, but l hope they're real competitive with each other. Once they step out onto the court, I want both to win and I want both to play like they want to win.

"That's what I'd like to see."

The mid-season change of pairing Smith-Warren together in doubles is paying off for Spring Creek. The top-seeded duo blanked Ayden-Grifton's Alicia Wade-Krista Render in the opening round. They came back later in the evening to hand Rosewood's Erica Nichols-Missy Bailey a 6-1, 6-1 loss. Smith-Warren qualified for the regionals with the victory.

Fellow Gators Sarah Bragg and Melanie Harlow endured semifinal-round losses in singles -- ironically -- to Rosewood. Brantham ousted Bragg 6-0, 6-0 and Worrell dumped Harlow 6-2, 6-3.

The 2-A regionals are scheduled for Oct. 22-23 at Holmes High School in Edenton. Meanwhile, the 1-A regionals will be contested the same dates at Herman Park in Goldsboro. Quarterfinal-round play starts Friday at 2 p.m. at each site. The top four singles players and doubles teams advance to the state tournament the following week.

The NCHSAA dual-team playoffs begin Oct. 19.

2004 Class 2-A Eastern Plains

Conference Tennis Tournament

(at Snow Hill Tennis Complex)


First round -- Emily Spain (T) d. Debbie Vandiford (NL) 6-2, 6-1; Brittany Laws (SWE) d. Heather Phillips (NL) 6-0, 6-2; Alison Thompson (T) d. Rachel Sasser (NL) 6-0, 6-4.

Quarterfinals -- Summer Chase (GC) d. Spain (T) 6-1, 6-1; Minta Dupree (T) d. Laws 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0; Holly Mace (GC) d. Thompson (T) 6-1, 6-1; Robin Ellis (T) d. Megan Brown (SWE) 6-2. 6-1.

Semifinals -- Chase (GC) d. Dupree 6-1, 6-1; Mace (GC) d. Ellis (T) x-x, x-x.

Championship -- Chase (GC) vs. Mace (GC)


First round -- Kornisha Dudley-Sierra Robinson (NP) d. Johanna Alvarez-Erin Perry (SWE) 6-4, 6-3.

Quarterfinals -- Meredith Rouse-Sarah Moore (GC) d. Kornisha Dudley-Sierra Robinson 6-0, 6-0; Jasmine Burroughs-Miranda Spain (T) d. Meghan Rhodes-Nikki Taylor 6-2, 6-3; Morgan Worthington-Mary-Linton Smith (NL) d. Nicki Leggett-Tracy Wade (NP) 6-0, 6-1; Christi Murphy-Ashley Harrell (GC) d. Danielle Abeyounis-Markia Camper 6-1, 6-0.

Semifinals -- Rouse-Moore (GC) d. Burroughs-Spain 6-3, 6-1; Murphy-Harrell (GC) d. Worthington-Smith 6-2, 7-5.

Championship -- Rouse-Moore (GC) vs. Murphy-Harrell (GC).

2004 Class 1-A Carolina

Conference Tennis Tournament

(at Snow Hill Tennis Complex)


First round -- Kayce Brantham (R) d. Justine Williford (FC) by default; Sarah Bragg (SC) d. Latosha Isler (AG) 6-2, 6-1; Melanie Harlow (SC) d. Samantha Stox 6-1, 6-1; Sidney Worrell (R) d. Brittany Meeks (FC) 6-0, 6-0.

Semifinals -- Brantham (R) d. Bragg (SC) 6-0, 6-0; Worrell (R) d. Harlow 6-2, 6-3.

Championship -- Brantham (R) vs. Harlow (R).


Quarterfinals -- Sarah Warren-Stacy Smith (SC) d. Alicia Wade-Krista Render (AG) 6-0, 6-0; Erica Nichols-Missy Bailey (R) d. Adrianne Joyner-Jamie Williford 6-0, 6-0; Lindsey Richardson-Laura Steinlein (AG) d. Kelly Murphy-Cynthia Breault 2-6, 7-5, 6-3; Kourtney Humphrey-Leah Smith (R) d. Robin Moore-Meghan Benson (FC) 6-2, 6-1.

Semifinals -- Warren-Smith (SC) d. Nichols-Bailey (R) 6-0, 6-0; Humphrey-Smith (R) vs. Richardson-Steinlein (AG).

Championship -- Warren-Smith (SC) d. Humphrey-Smith (R)/Richardson-Steinlein (AG).