Another title within reach for Warriors
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 6, 2010 1:47 PM
Eastern Wayne moved one step closer to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season girls' tennis championship Tuesday afternoon.
And the Warriors did it in convincing fashion.
Joann Talton secured the match-clinching point at No. 5 singles, and Eastern Wayne dismantled second-year ECC member Triton, 8-1. The victory assured the Warriors and archrival Charles B. Aycock of the league's two berths in the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs.
The loss mathematically eliminated the Hawks.
"We have bonded strong as a team this year," said Eastern Wayne senior Miller Delbridge. "We work hard in practice every day because we want to win the conference championship (again) this year."
Eastern Wayne (15-4 overall, 10-0 ECC) can earn a share of the regular-season title Thursday afternoon at North Lenoir. The Warriors and Golden Falcons complete regular-season play Monday afternoon in Pikeville.
Delbridge turned in the biggest result of the afternoon.
One of three players remaining from Eastern Wayne's state runner-up team in 2007, Delbridge knocked off Triton's Cailin Goff 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles and avenged a three-set loss in September.
Goff endured her first defeat in 11 outings this season.
"My mental game (was better)," smiled Delbridge. "The last time I played her, I kind of lost it. I was prepared today, didn't get mad or frustrated when I hit a bad shot or missed the ball.
"I just stayed consistent until I could put it away or let her make a mistake."
Delbridge exited the courts minutes before Talton polished off a straight-set triumph over Lauren Bass. Talton, who has played all season with a torn meniscus in her left knee, improved to 17-1 overall on the singles scene.
Talton climbed to 9-0 against ECC opposition.
Janielle Daniel and Amber Miller, each a member of the 2007 state finalist squad, each posted a straight-set win. Daniel (15-4 overall, 10-0 ECC) didn't drop a game on serve against second-seeded Georganna Gower, while Miller (18-1, 10-0 ECC) battled past fifth-seeded Jennifer Byrd.
The Warriors received singles wins from third-seeded Grace Delbridge and sixth-seeded Jackie Johnson. Delbridge collected her ninth triumph in league play and 14th overall this season. Johnson rose to 8-3 overall.
"Everyone stepped up and never let them gain control of the match at all," said Eastern Wayne head coach Kelly Hoff. "I was very proud of Miller. She went out there on a mission since the day she walked off the court at Triton after losing that match. She was wanting to face her (Goff) again.
"I was proud all the way down through the lineup (in singles). My five (Miller) and six (Johnson) played great."
The tandems of Daniel-Talton and G. Delbridge-Miller each prevailed in doubles.
Eastern Wayne has surrendered one team point or less in 13 contests this season. The Warriors extended their ECC regular-season win streak to 42 matches.
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