10/20/04 — Eagles knock off Super Six champ James Kenan

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Eagles knock off Super Six champ James Kenan

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 20, 2004 1:57 PM

WARSAW -- A senior-laden team, according to the odds, should prevail against an opponent with five underclassmen in its lineup.



Rosewood, which has two sophomores and two freshmen among its top six players, easily eliminated James Kenan 6-0 from the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A dual-team tennis playoffs Tuesday afternoon. The Eagles, the No. 2 seed from the Carolina Conference, play at either Williamston or Durham School of the Arts next Tuesday.

Kenan concluded the year 9-4.

"The girls didn't play that bad, but they didn't play that good, either," Tigers coach Chip Hardy said. "I have found out that the competition we play is going to have to get better in the years to come. We have not had a close match all year.

"The girls have not won under pressure. They've either won 9-0 or been beaten 9-0. You can tell in certain circumstances that when the pressure comes down, they haven't risen to meet it."

The loss of third-seeded Erica Brown (ankle injury) weakened Hardy's lineup, but he dismissed it as an excuse. The veteran coach revamped his lineup due to Brown's injury and the Tigers managed to claim their fourth consecutive Super Six title.

Still, the senior experience never surfaced against the Eagles. Rosewood (12-6) dominated nearly every singles match en route to its third consecutive first-round win.

The decisive match occurred at No. 6 singles between two freshmen -- Rosewood's Erica Nichols and Kenan's Lorry Chestnutt.

Chestnutt, who didn't pick up a racquet until this summer, moved into the lineup after Brown's season-ending injury. She struggled as Nichols consistently kept every ball in play en route to a 6-0, 6-0 victory -- her eighth of the season.

"I know he misses his No. 3 player and that always makes a difference when you have to move people up," Rosewood coach Bert Perkins said. "You kind of wonder what it would have been like, but you have to play the game the way it is."

Top-seeded Kayce Brantham seized 11 consecutive games in a 6-0, 6-1 conquest of junior Christa Jones. Brantham picked up her 17th singles win in 21 tries.

Senior Leah Smith (11-7) rallied from a one-game deficit in the second set and topped Allison Fonvielle 6-1, 6-3. Fourth-seeded Kourtney Humphrey (13-5) strolled past Brittany Crabtree 6-2, 6-0. Freshman Missy Bailey played steady in a 6-2, 6-1 victory against sophomore Megan Sanderlin at the No. 5 slot.

Beth Parrish, one of three Tiger seniors, and Sidney Worrell played a tight match at the No. 3 spot. The players tied at 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 before Parrish took a 6-5 lead.

Worrell, a sophomore, served a love game to force the seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6. She captured five of the first six points in a 7-2 win and could breathe a little easier heading into the second set.

"She started slow and was not feeling well today," Perkins said. "Once she got the set tied and won the tiebreaker, it was pretty much downhill for her from that point."

Worrell continued to hit consistent ground strokes in the second set and raced to a 5-0 lead. Parrish extended the match by taking the net two games, but eventually lost the match on an unforced error.

"Sidney did a good job," Perkins said. "All of them did a good job."

The teams didn't play doubles.

Rosewood grabbed its sixth postseason win in eight tries since falling to North Stokes in the NCHSAA title match in 2002.

"At the beginning (of the season), I wasn't quite sure because they were so young," Perkins said. "I knew they had talent and skills. But I didn't know how they would respond in a competitive game-match situation, and they've done really well.

"I've been pleased. They have exceeded my expectations this year and I hope they continue to do that."

2004 N.C. High School

Athletic Association Class 1-A

Dual-Team Tennis Playoffs

(at James Kenan HS, Warsaw)

Singles -- No. 1 Kayce Brantham (R) d. Christa Jones 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Leah Smith (R) d. Allison Fonvielle 6-1, 6-3; No. 3 Sidney Worrell (R) d. Beth Parrish 7-6 (2), 6-2; No. 4 Kourtney Humphrey (R) d. Brittany Crabtree 6-2, 6-0; No. 5 Missy Bailey (R) d. Megan Sanderlin 6-2, 6-1; No. 6 Erica Nichols (R) d. Lorry Chestnutt 6-0, 6-0.

Doubles -- Not contested.