04/20/12 — No. 3 doubles lifts Rosewood

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No. 3 doubles lifts Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 20, 2012 1:49 PM

Closer than expected.

And a historical win denied.

Rosewood's No. 3 tandem of Nolan Tubb-Hunter Hinson claimed the decisive match-clinching point in a nail-biting, 5-4 victory over county rival Goldsboro High on the Carolina 1-A Conference boys' tennis scene Thursday afternoon.

The Cougars (2-4 overall, 1-4 CC) refused to quit, but couldn't polish off their first-ever triumph over the Eagles, who exited 8-5 overall and finished 4-2 in league play this season. Rosewood entered the spring as the two-time defending Carolina champion, and has won eight league titles overall since 1992.

"It was a lot tighter than I wanted it to be," Rosewood head coach Clifton Greenup said. "We managed to pull it out and I'm happy with the outcome."

The teams split at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles.

The top-seeded duo of Cuddington-Ismail posted an 8-0 shutout over Lane-Wright. The Cougars' Green-King rolled past El Awar-Nathan Tubb 8-3.

All eyes turned toward the No. 3 doubles. Spagnuolo, who is at least two feet shorter than Dobson, faced Nolan Tubb-Hinson. Spagnuolo-Dobson took the first game of the set, but Tubb-Hinson answered with a match-closing 8-1 run. The Rosewood duo worked the angles well on crosscourt lob shots and Hinson anticipated the ball well at the net.

"I told them to hit the ball solid to the tall guy (Dobson) and lob the short guy (Spagnuolo)," Greenup said. "Tall guys don't like shots at their feet and short guys don't like lobs over their heads."

The Eagles claimed the top three singles courts.

Sophomore Dylan Cuddington remained unbeaten with a 6-0, 6-0 decision over the Cougars' Tyler Lane, who ironically takes lessons from Cuddington's dad, Alan. Second-seeded Fouad Ismail overcame uncharacteristic unforced errors and turned back Bernard Green 6-4, 6-2.

Third-seeded Daniel El Awar, the lone senior in Rosewood's lineup, carved out a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Goldsboro senior Robbie King.

"Dan has been consistent all year," Greenup said.

Goldsboro evened the match with three victories at the lower seeds.

Fourth-seeded Nathan Wright, one of four seniors in the Cougars' top six, stopped Nathan Tubb 6-0, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Vincent Spagnuolo claimed a come-from-behind 0-6, 6-3, 10-3 triumph over Nolan Tubb. And sixth-seeded Anthony Dobson handed RHS senior Zach Thornton a 7-6 (1), 6-3 loss.

"Today is probably the best we have played this season," GHS head coach Ryan Spell said. "In high school tennis, well in all tennis, you really can't judge a game by the final score. I told them I wanted to see them win this match. They went out there and played well."