Hall makes school history, Rams win another East title
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 27, 2005 1:47 PM
SNOW HILL -- Greene Central men's tennis standout Lin Hall never thought he'd have a chance of breaking the school record for career singles victories.
You're kidding, right?
Hall considered the feat, set by Allison Cobb, untouchable until he sat down one afternoon and started counting. Once the number surpassed 80 and ended at 83, the soft-spoken senior calculated his chances again.
Realizing there was little margin for error, Hall began a silent season-long attack on a record that had been untouched for just two-plus seasons -- until Thursday afternoon. Hall emerged the all-time leader with win No. 104 -- 6-0, 6-1 against North Lenoir senior Jared O'dell.
The straight-set triumph helped the Rams prevail 8-1 and seize their fourth consecutive N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A Eastern Regional dual-team championship. Greene Central (21-0) faces defending champion Charlotte Catholic (19-0) for the state title Saturday morning in Burlington.
Match time is 10:30 a.m.
"I feel honored to be the person to break the record at Greene Central set by one of the supposedly best girls to ever play here," said a red-faced Hall. "I'm really proud of myself."
O'dell made Hall earn every point.
Effectively using every angle on the court, he forced Hall to run down several balls and make difficult shots in breezy conditions. Hall answered the challenge and took nine straight games, including the opening set 6-0.
O'dell forced a split at 4-1 in the second set, but Hall held serve to go up 5-1. Hall trailed by three break points at 0-40 after an O'dell ace, but worked his way back into the game.
Hall capitalized on four consecutive unforced errors and handed O'dell his third loss of the season.
"He definitely had nothing to lose and made me work harder this time," said Hall, whose career singles record is 104-13. "He forced me to run around more and was a lot more consistent."
Also red faced from his effort, O'dell complimented Hall on his effort.
"He makes awesome shots and doesn't let you make a good shot at all," said O'dell, who finished the season 17-4 in singles action. "He just plays really hard ... really well. He's just too good."
Greene Central was just too good in its fifth consecutive eastern regional final. Two first-year starters, Travis Moore and Bryan Pollock, each collected straight-set wins. The duo combined to lose just one game.
One of three seniors in the lineup, top-seeded Brent Darden grabbed six service breaks and stopped Alex Mills 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 1 slot. Chris Hardy, a four-year starter, turned back Jerry Mills 6-1, 6-3 -- which clinched the overall match at 5-0.
"They had just come off a big win against Gray's Creek. They were going to have confidence and really nothing to lose," said Rams coach Brad Sauls. "I felt like we needed to get on top of them early and stay under control. I felt like they were the better team, and they showed that."
Senior James Parker claimed the Hawks' lone singles win 6-4, 6-4 against Banks Nimmo. Nimmo rallied from a 4-1 second-set deficit to 4-4, but Parker kept his poise en route to his team-leading 22nd win.
Greene Central swept the doubles.
The Hawks (17-4) became just the third team in school history to play for a regional championship. The baseball program made 3-A regional appearances in 1992 and 1993, and is playing Randleman in the 2-A regional title series this week.
The softball team won its first-ever regional crown last season against Elizabeth City Northeastern.
"We knew this was the farthest we could get," said Hawks coach Courtney Harrell. "We hadn't won a set, but today James won a match and that's the first time we've done that all year against them.
"Today, we just came out to enjoy the moment, have fun and see what we could do."
Notes: The Rams are 12-0 in home playoff matches since a loss against Western Alamance on May 24, 2001. ... Darden holds the career record for doubles victories with 110. ... Greene Central's all-time playoff record is 25-11, including a 12-3 mark during the past four seasons. ... The Rams were denied their 20th shutout.
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