05/10/07 — Eastern Wayne tennis advances

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Eastern Wayne tennis advances

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2007 1:49 PM

Despite needing two days to secure its opening-round playoff victory, the Eastern Wayne men's tennis team played with a cool demeanor Wednesday afternoon at Herman Park.

The Warriors hit crisp ground strokes and capitalized on critical points in a 5-1 triumph over D.H. Conley on the John Allen Farfour courts. Eastern Wayne (15-3 overall) entertains Jacksonville White Oak in a second-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team match next Tuesday.

Two short rain storms rendered court conditions unplayable on Tuesday and forced suspension of the match. The Warriors owned slim leads on four courts, trailed on court No. 3 and were tied on court No. 6.

"That rain delay (Tuesday) really concerned me," said Eastern Wayne head coach Nancy Dawson. "It gave them an opportunity to see what we had and, of course, it gave us an opportunity to see what they had.

"(Today) just depended on who was the better player."

Dawson's players proved her theory on five courts.

Second-seeded Drew Jackson shut out the Vikings' Carson Joyner in the opening set, but dropped the first game of the second set. Jackson quickly rebounded for a 6-0, 6-1 win -- his 14th consecutive and 15th overall in singles play this season.

Fourth-seeded Christian Pfuhl kept control throughout his match against Zack Foster. Pfuhl led 3-1 before the rain delay and closed out the set 6-1. Foster found a little momentum in the second set, but Pfuhl emerged victorious 6-3.

D.H. Conley's Scott Sanderson took a short-lived 3-2 lead over Eric Barnes on court No. 6. Barnes answered the challenge and prevailed 6-2, 6-2.

"Eric just came back and played like he's supposed to play," said Dawson. "He just has to make his mind up to win and when he does, he's usually unstoppable."

Fifth-seeded David Benton needed a couple of games to get warmed up against Gary Dawson. Benton let a 2-1 advantage slip away in the opening set and staged another rally in the second set.

Benton won 6-4, 6-3.

"David's match could have gone into a tiebreaker and he didn't let that happen," said Dawson. "He gets frustrated when he misses a couple of shots he thinks he ought to make. Then he pulls it back together."

Top-seeded Jared Stone finished off Jeff Holoman 6-4, 6-3 and gave the Warriors their second dual-team victory in their last two postseason appearances. Stone shared News-Argus co-player of the year honors former doubles mate Andrew Ziccardi last spring.

D.H. Conley, which has just one senior in its lineup, earned its lone singles point at No. 3. Andrew Meade overcame a disastrous second set and upended the Warriors' Ben Wines 6-2, 3-6, 10-4.

Wines grabbed a 5-0 lead in the second set and lost a break point as Meade pulled within 5-3. An unforced error allowed Wines to even the match at one set apiece, which induced the 10-point super tiebreaker.

Wines, a senior, pulled ahead 2-1 on a service ace. But Meade took command with an 8-1 run and Wines never recovered.

"You have to give credit to Eastern Wayne," said D.H. Conley coach Matt Turner. "They're a solid team up and down the ladder; don't lose much as they go down.

"It was a good showing for us because last year when we came up here, we got bumped pretty hard. We were competitive in all the matches today and that's pretty much been the story of our season -- close, but getting there.

"I'm pleased with the scores."

The Vikings concluded the year 10-8 overall.