Eastern Wayne netters eliminate C.B. Aycock
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 23, 2007 1:47 PM
Nancy Dawson is living a dream right now.
She hopes nobody wakes her up.
Eastern Wayne continued its historic run on the men's tennis scene Tuesday afternoon with a 5-2 conquest of county archrival Charles B. Aycock. The Warriors (17-3 overall) earned their first-ever trip to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team eastern championship.
"I can put this right up there with winning the state (3-A) championship with Charlie (Drew)," said Dawson, who choked back tears. "It's one of the most-memorable things that's happened. And it's not because of who we played, but where we are."
Drew emerged the program's first-ever individual champion -- male or female -- in 2003. Until Tuesday's victory, Dawson had never taken a men's or women's team to a dual-team regional final.
"It really is like a dream," said Dawson. "The guys just don't know how proud I am of them. The final score really was not indicative of how the play was today. It was point for point for point.
"Aycock never let down their guard. They have had an excellent season."
Tiebreakers factored into two matches which favored the Warriors.
Sixth-seeded Eric Barnes rallied from a love-40 deficit to break a 5-5 tie in the opening set against Dylan Quinn. The two underclassmen battled to a 6-6 deadlock and Barnes took the tiebreaker 7-5.
Quinn couldn't recover and lost the second set 6-1.
"Eric matured a lot that match; took a step up," said Dawson.
Fourth-seeded Christian Pfuhl avenged a pair of regular-season losses to the Golden Falcons' Blake Cooper. Pfuhl owned 5-3 leads in each set, but needed tiebreakers to prevent Cooper from winning a third time.
Cooper broke Pfuhl's serve twice in the second set to force a tiebreaker. They traded the first two points, until Pfuhl went on a 3-0 run. Cooper committed back-to-back unforced errors and fell down a mini break in serve.
Pfuhl benefited from a smash that hit the tape and dropped on Cooper's side of the court to make it 4-1.
"The second set ... I wanted it more and was really willing to hit out on the shot," said Pfuhl. "I made sure I got the ball back and tried to move him around as much as possible. But my legs felt like lead.
"I didn't want to win by him missing the shot. I like to play the point out. I feel like I didn't play as well as I could have, but it was good enough."
Cooper pulled within 4-2 on a passing shot at the net, but Pfuhl prevailed on three of the next five points to win 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
"I really thought we'd win at number four, but losing that match really hurt us," said C.B. Aycock head coach Kevin Coghill, whose team finished the season 15-9. "Christian played great; as solid as I've ever seen him play.
"We had a couple of guys today who had mental letdowns."
The Warriors' Drew Jackson continued his season-long dominance over Aycock freshman Addison Westbrook 7-5, 6-1. Fifth-seeded David Benton knocked off Ben Nichols 6-0, 6-3.
Eastern Wayne senior Jared Stone attacked the net on occasion and traded groundstrokes with Blake Vail, but could never get a break. Vail prevailed 6-3, 6-4 and concluded the year with a single-season, school-record 31 victories.
Chad Medlin, a two-time eastern regional champion, held the record of 25 wins set in the early 1990s when Aycock competed in the East Central 2-A Conference.
Evans, the Golden Falcons' No. 3 seed, stopped Ben Wines 6-4, 6-3. He avenged a pair of regular-season, three-set losses to the Warrior senior.
"We've been working hard with him on his tennis game, but also how he thinks on the court; trying to get him a little more positive," said Coghill, who expects to return his entire starting lineup next season.
"He's getting better."
The tandem of Stone-Jackson, the eastern regional doubles champions, secured the Warriors' regional bid with a 10-6 decision over Vail-Westbrook.
Unbeaten Burlington Williams (13-0), the reigning eastern title holder, will visit the Warriors on Thursday afternoon. First serve is scheduled for 4 o'clock on the John Allen Farfour courts at Herman Park.
The Mid-State Conference champion, Williams has posted three playoff shutouts.
Eastern Wayne 5
C.B. Aycock 2
Singles -- No. 1 Blake Vail (CBA) d. Jared Stone 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 Drew Jackson (EW) d. Addison Westbrook 7-5, 6-1; No. 3 Ben Evans (CBA) d. Ben Wines 6-4, 6-3; No. 4 Christian Pfuhl (EW) d. Blake Cooper 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4); No. 5 David Benton (EW) d. Ben Nichols 6-0, 6-3; No. 6 Eric Barnes (EW) 7-6 (5), 6-1.
Doubles -- No. 1 Stone-Jackson (EW) d. Vail-Westbrook 10-6.
Note: Nos. 2 and 3 doubles not completed.
Records: Eastern Wayne 17-3, C.B. Aycock 15-9.
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