E. Wayne blanks D.H. Conley in 3-A dual-team tennis
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2006 2:13 PM
With no scouting report available on D.H. Conley, the Eastern Wayne men's tennis team overcame early-set nerves and took care of business -- as usual -- on the John Allen Farfour courts Tuesday afternoon.
The Warriors dumped the Vikings 9-0 and advanced to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team playoffs. It was the first postseason win in program history since the mid-1990s.
Eastern Wayne, the Eastern Carolina Conference champion and 14-2 overall, opposes perennial power Rocky Mount Senior High next Tuesday afternoon. The Gryphons blitzed Currituck County 9-0.
D.H. Conley concluded the year 12-8.
"I was worried about that match because I didn't know anything about them, but I knew they had played stiffer competition than we had during the season," said 11th-year Warrior coach Nancy Dawson, who collected career win No. 106. "They had played (Greenville) Rose and New Bern in conference (play). New Bern blitzed them and I didn't find that out until they stepped onto the courts.
"I felt like they were more tournament tough than we were. But my kids hung in there. It didn't even bother them and they acted like they were on a mission."
The Warriors (14-2) wasted little time in singles play. Jared Stone needed less than 40 minutes to shut out Viking senior Greg Oglesby 6-0, 6-0. Stone, a regional qualifier, improved to 18-1 overall.
Top-seeded Andrew Ziccardi climbed to 18-1 with a 6-1, 6-0 conquest of Conley freshman Jeff Holoman.
"Jared played outstanding," said Dawson. "Drew looked nervous and I told him to just relax, do what he needed to do to win. He did very well and was proud of himself after he settled down."
Holoman and Oglesby qualified for the NCHSAA eastern individual regionals, which are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Barton College in Wilson.
Fourth-seeded Alex Bryant, one of two seniors among the Warriors' top six singles players, cruised past freshman Zach Foster 6-1, 6-1. Third-seeded Drew Jackson turned back senior James Porter 6-2, 6-0.
Fifth-seeded David Benton sealed Eastern Wayne's playoff victory with a 6-2, 6-3 decision against Carson Joyner. Teammate Ben Wines, a first-year starter, rallied past Manato Takahashi 6-4, 6-1.
"I was proud of Ben because he had less experience than the rest," said Dawson. "He settled in and took control of the match. When he was down, he never let that get him down.
"He held his composure and did a good job."
D.H. Conley, which finished fourth overall in the Coastal 3-A/4-A Conference and second among 3-A teams, competed without senior James Holland. The absence forced head coach Matt Turner to bump Takahashi, a freshman, into the singles lineup.
"Our three player is a real solid athlete and good competitor," said Turner. "It definitely weakened us a little bit, but we're relatively interchangeable down the lineup from numbers three through six slots.
"We played all right, but have played more crisply in the past."
Eastern Wayne dominated doubles play.
Ziccardi-Stone prevailed 8-1 at the No. 1 spot. Bryant-Jackson, who have qualified for the regionals, rolled past Oglesby-Porter 8-3. Benton-Eric Barnes stopped third-seeded Foster-Takahashi 8-3.
"Eastern Wayne was solid and reminds us a lot of Washington," said Turner. "They're very similar to them ... solid team top to bottom with two real good players at the top.
"All through the lineup they can stroke the ball and play. That's what you need to win a lot of matches."
2006 Class 3-A
N.C. High School
Athletic Association Dual-Team
(at John Allen Farfour Courts)
Eastern Wayne 9
D.H. Conley 0
Singles -- No. 1 Andrew Ziccardi (EW) d. Jeff Holoman 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Jared Stone (EW) d. Greg Oglesby 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Drew Jackson (EW) d. James Porter 6-2, 6-0; No. 4 Alex Bryant (EW) d. Zach Foster 6-1, 6-1; No. 5 David Benton (EW) d. Carson Joyner 6-2, 6-3; No. 6 Ben Wines (EW) d. Manato Takahashi 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles -- No. 1 Ziccardi-Stone (EW) d. Holoman-Joyner 8-1; No. 2 Bryant-Jackson (EW) d. Oglesby-Porter 8-3; No. 3 Benton-Eric Barnes (EW) d. Foster-Takahashi 8-3.
Records -- Eastern Wayne 14-2, D.H. Conley 12-8.
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