11/23/04 — Green Central's Chase selects Barton

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Green Central's Chase selects Barton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 23, 2004 1:57 PM

SNOW HILL -- Summer Chase figured her collegiate future would involve numerous hours of study since she plans to double major in history and political science, and work toward a law degree.

Now, she needs to find some practice time for tennis.

The Greene Central standout is leaving a tradition-rich prep tennis program and heading to Barton College, which is establishing itself as a perennial powerhouse on the NCAA Division II level. Chase signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Bulldogs next fall. She joins former Rams teammate Allison Cobb, who is currently playing in the starting lineup.

"I hadn't planned on going to play tennis, but the opportunity came up," said Chase, whose initial intention was to attend North Carolina. "I really didn't think there was any chance of me playing in college. (Barton) Coach (Marc) Walters is a good coach and they have a really solid program.

"I was very impressed."

Chase is the fifth area player to sign with a Division II program in the last three years. Charles B. Aycock's Summer Pittman is a freshman at Barton and another Greene Central player, Kelly Bryant, is playing at Queens University in Charlotte. Jennifer Moats, a graduate of Eastern Wayne, signed with Mount Olive College last spring.

"I am excited that Summer is going to continue playing tennis," veteran Greene Central coach Donald Clark said. "She's always had a love for the game and thrives on competition, pushing herself. I feel like college tennis will give her another opportunity to continue to strive for improvement.

"Summer is her own worst critic and she demands a whole lot out of herself."

Chase admits that demand and self-pressure comes from playing in Clark's program. The Rams have one of the state's most-respected prep programs and have become a fixture in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A dual-team championships

An outspoken and articulate student, Chase helped Greene Central collect more than 60 dual-team victories in three varsity seasons. She played No. 6 singles as a freshman, split time between Nos. 3 and 4 as a junior and battled at No. 4 this season.

Chase concluded her three-year career 75-20 in singles, including a 30-6 mark this season. She earned all-Eastern Plains Conference honors for the second consecutive season.

Walters liked Chase's aggressive style of play, her patience and her versatility. Chase doesn't mind sitting on the baseline and pounding out ground strokes while waiting for her opponent to hit into a mistake. In fact, that was her main game plan as a freshman.

But, as her maturity level improved, Chase began challenging her opponents by approaching the net on occasion. She effectively used slice and drop shots, something she didn't have in her arsenal as a freshman.

Her steady improvement also caught Walters' attention.

"We've talked a little and I think he's looking for me to come in probably somewhere near the bottom of the lineup," Chase said of Walters. "He knows my game and he knows I play the way he likes for his girls to play. I think he really sees me as an asset to the team.

"I'm very appreciative of (his praise). Of course, it will take me a little while to get adjusted to it."

Barton finished 24-5 last season and captured its first-ever Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference championship. The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 29 nationally in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll.

"I've been very impressed with how the Barton program has improved over the last several years. I am also proud of the fact that part of that improvement has been because of local players," Clark said. "There is a lot of talent right here in this area that will help teams if they're given the opportunity. I really believe that recruiting players from successful programs like Greene Central and C.B. Aycock can do nothing but benefit your college program.

"You have kids coming in who are not going to accept losing. They're going to do whatever it takes to get to that next level in their game. Summer has a love for the game."