Rams, Gators Eagles take titles
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 13, 2004 1:56 PM
SNOW HILL -- Day two of the 2004 Class 2-A Eastern Plains and Carolina 1-A Conference tennis tournaments didn't unveil any major surprises.
Greene Central continued its decade-long dominance with victories in singles and doubles in on the 2-A side. Archrivals Rosewood and Spring Creek crowned a singles and doubles champion, respectively, on the 1-A side.
Greene Central's Holly Mace returns a backhand shot to Tarboro's Robin Ellis during their EPC 2-A semifinal singles match Tuesday afternoon.
Tarboro's Robin Ellis admirably played the spoiler's role, but couldn't prevent an all-Rams final in singles. Ellis forced Holly Mace to hit numerous balls in the first sets and gained a split.
Mace (24-2) switched into an offensive mode in the third set and bothered Ellis with a variety of drop shots and winners. The tactical switch allowed Mace to claim a 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-2 win.
Mace faced teammate Summer Chase, the No. 1 seed, in the championship match. Chase played consistent from start to finish en route to a 6-3, 6-2 victory -- her 26th of the season.
"Summer played outstanding tennis in the semifinals and finals against two great players," Rams coach Donald Clark said. "She was extremely consistent in both matches and moved about as well as I've ever seen her move.
"She also hit some great volleys at the net."
Greene Central's top-seeded tandem of Meredith Rouse-Sarah Moore battled teammates Christi Murphy-Ashley Harrell in the EPC finals. Rouse-Moore picked up their 22nd win with a 6-4, 6-4 decision. It was Moore's third doubles title of her career and second with Rouse.
The duo defeated Spring Creek's Sarah Warren-Stacy Smith 6-3, 6-2 in the C/EPC championship. Warren-Smith fell to 12-3 with all three losses occurring against the Rams.
"Meredith served well and did a great job of getting to the net quickly," Clark said. "Sarah moved well at the net and put away a lot of volleys cross-court. They played like a veteran team in the finals, and I hope this is a good sign for the postseason."
Warren-Smith claimed the Carolina doubles title 6-0, 6-3 against Rosewood's Kourtney Humphrey-Leah Smith. Warren seized her second straight doubles title, while it was Smith's first but third overall including singles crowns in 2002 and 2003.
"It was definitely a change because I was so used to playing with Christie (Bradshaw) my tenth and eleventh-grade year, and I was hoping she would be back," Warren said. "I was a little bit nervous about it, but I knew Stacy is a great player and is awesome at the net.
"I like to play baseline, so we work together well. It was an easy adjustment."
Rosewood junior Kayce Brantham emerged the new Carolina singles champion with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against teammate Sidney Worrell. Experience and competition against stronger opponents proved critical for Brantham, who moved Worrell around the court with an arsenal of shots.
Each player started shaky and struggled on their respective first serves. Once each found a comfortable rhythm, they battled for several long rallies. Brantham consistently won the long points with well-place winning shots.
"It was pretty tough, but I had to approach it like I was playing any other person," said Brantham, who earned her 16th singles win. "I think we both played equally as hard. The experience helped me a lot.
"Sidney plays really well as far as hitting short balls. I've learned from experience to move a whole lot more."
The Eagles claimed the team title with 21 points, eight more than Spring Creek. Brantham, Worrell and the doubles of Humphrey-Smith and Erica Nichols-Missy Bailey qualified for next week's eastern regionals. Nichols and Bailey are freshmen.
Smith-Warren and Sarah Bragg secured berths in the regionals.
"I feel like we had a chance because we had close matches against Spring Creek during the year, and I felt like we could get them today," Rosewood coach Bert Perkins said. "He (Gators coach Robert Jones) put his eggs all in one basket, so to speak, so that helped us out. That helped us as far as (regional) qualifying, which I'm also pleased with.
"Erica and Missy, I'm real happy for them. That will give them experience for next year."
Spring Creek finished its dual-team season in dramatic fashion.
Darkness suspended the Gators' No. 3 singles match last Thursday against Tarboro, leaving the overall score tied at 4-4. The Gators' tandem of Cynthia Breault-Kelly Murphy bolted to a 6-2 only to see the Vikings' Alison Thompson-Sarah Satterthwaite pull within 7-5.
When the teams resumed play Tuesday, Thompson-Satterthwaite claimed the first three games and appeared poised to hand Tarboro its 13th win in C/EPC play. Breault-Murphy regrouped, tied the match at 8-8 and forced a decisive tiebreaker.
Thompson-Satterthwaite squandered three match points in the tiebreaker before Breault-Murphy prevailed 10-8. The Gators claimed their 14th C/EPC victory against two defeats.
Four conference teams begin play next Tuesday in the annual N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs. Greene Central (22-2) entertains Roanoke Rapids and Tarboro High (14-7) is the guest of the East Central runner-up in the 2-A ranks. On the 1-A side, Spring Creek entertains Topsail and Rosewood (11-6) travels to James Kenan.
The 2-A individual singles and doubles 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.
2004 Class 2-A Eastern Plains
Conference Tennis Tournament
(at Snow Hill Tennis Complex)
Summer Chase (GC) d. Holly Mace (GC) 6-3, 6-2.
Meredith Rouse-Sarah Moore (GC) d. Christi Murphy-Ashley Harrell 6-4, 6-4.
2004 Class 1-A Carolina
Conference Tennis Tournament
(at Snow Hill Tennis Complex)
Kayce Brantham (R) d. Sidney Worrell (R) 6-1, 6-0.
Sarah Warren-Stacy Smith (SC) d. Kourtney Humphrey-Leah Smith (R) 6-0, 6-3.
2004 C/EPC Overall
Summer Chase (GC) d. Kayce Brantham (R) 6-0, 6-1.
Meredith Rouse-Sarah Moore (GC) d. Sarah Warren-Stacy Smith (SC) 6-3, 6-2.
Final team standings
x-Greene Central 34
y-Spring Creek 13
x-Tarboro High 13
North Lenoir 7
SW Edgecombe 6
North Pitt 3
Farmville Central 1
x -- 2-A dual-team qualifier
y -- 1-A dual-team qualifier
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