09/13/07 — Spring Creek demolishes James Kenan

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Spring Creek demolishes James Kenan

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 13, 2007 2:39 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- While the dark clouds slowly etched their way toward Wayne County on Wednesday afternoon, the Spring Creek women's tennis team had one thought on its mind -- finish this quick.

The Gators did.

Utilizing the pro-set (eight-game) format in singles, Spring Creek needed less than 45 minutes to dismantle Class 1-A Carolina/Super Six Conference opponent James Kenan. The Tigers salvaged two doubles matches, but the state-ranked Gators prevailed 7-2.

Spring Creek (3-3 overall) improved to 3-0 against C/SS opposition and is off to its best league start since 2003 when it played for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A dual-team championship.

"We knew there was a chance of impending rain and we wanted to get this match in," said Gators head coach Robert Jones. "Everybody went out there and took care of business ... played with a purpose. Playing three matches a week is tough and the less time you spend on the court, the better off you are.

"That third match is usually the toughest on your legs."

Weather permitting, the Gators entertain two-time defending C/SS champion Rosewood today. Archrivals in tennis only, the two teams have combined to win the last five regular-season conference titles.

Spring Creek, ranked No. 7 in the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association 1-A poll, posted four shutouts against James Kenan.

German exchange student Isabel Messelken rolled over the Tigers' Jessie Smith 8-0 at the No. 3 slot. Jamison Mossburg and Ivey Best, two of four returning starters, dominated their respective opponents at Nos. 5 and 6 singles, respectively. The top-seeded tandem of Jamie Johnson-Mary Elizabeth West held the Tigers' Brittany Mathis-Smith scoreless.

Johnson remained unbeaten (6-0) at No. 1 singles, while West and Rachel Lewis triumphed at the Nos. 2 and 4 positions, respectively. Lewis and Johnson are returning starters as well.

"I'm real pleased with Jamie's play," said Jones. "She has worked very hard this summer and has played a bunch of USTA tournaments. She has definitely raised the level of her game.

"She has definitely showed her teammates what hard work, perseverance and living on the court can do for you."

The addition of West and Messelken has strengthened the Gators' lineup. West takes early college classes at Wayne Community College and played last season at Wayne Christian. Messelken is visiting the United States for one year and will return when school recesses for the summer.

"Having Mary Elizabeth and Isabel has made a huge difference," said Jones, who has an eight-player roster. "Any time you can add two players to your lineup and keep several who will be successful, that definitely helps you. Without them, it would have been difficult to pull off some of the matches we have this season.

"We could easily be forfeiting courts without those two girls."

Instead, the Gators have already topped last year's C/SS win total (2) and are eyeing their fourth conference crown since 2002.

"If we play up to our potential, we should do well in our conference," said Jones. "It's just a matter of everybody getting better with their strokes and finding certain things to work on after each match."

Wednesday's match

Spring Creek 7

James Kenan 2

Singles: No. 1 Jamie Johnson (SC) d. Lory Chestnutt 8-2; No. 2 Mary Elizabeth West (SC) d. Brittany Mathis 8-1; No. 3 Isabel Messelken (SC) d. Jessie Smith 8-0; No. 4 Rachel Lewis (SC) d. Hillary Drew 8-2; No. 5 Jamison Mossburg (SC) d. Amanda Crabtree 8-0; No. 6 Ivey Best (SC) d. Morgan Rector 8-0.

Doubles: No. 1 Johnson-West (SC) d. Mathis-Smith 8-0; No. 2 Chestnutt-Drew (JK) d. Lewis-Mossburg 8-4; No. 3 Rector-Holly Parrish (JK) d. Jessie Foley-Jo Leigh Turner 8-5.

Record: Spring Creek 3-3, 3-0 Carolina/Super Six

Tuesday's match

Spring Creek 7

Ayden-Grifton 2

Singles: No. 1 Johnson (SC) d. Brandi Hughes 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 West (SC) d. Barbara Rose 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 Messelken (SC) d. Michelle Cox 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Lewis (SC) d. Allison Scott 6-4, 6-3; No. 5 Mossburg (SC) d. Jordan Cone 7-6, 5-7, 10-4; No. 6 Kayla Overstreet (AG) d. Best 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles: No. 1 Johnson-West (SC) d. Hughes-Scott 8-1; No. 2 Messelken-Lewis (SC) d. Rose-Cox 8-0; No. 3 Overstreet-Olivia Cayton by forfeit.