10/05/12 — Goldsboro secures Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season crown

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Goldsboro secures Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season crown

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 5, 2012 1:48 PM

Could Goldsboro be better in 2012?

Head girls' tennis coach Susan Randolph thought so.

And she was right.

Bolstered by experience and full of confidence instilled by their coach, the Cougars ended a two-decade title drought Thursday evening on the John Allen Farfour Courts. Goldsboro claimed a pair of 9-0 victories against Carolina 1-A Conference rival Rosewood and earned the program's first league championship since 1990.

The Cougars (7-1 overall, 7-1 CC) clinched the conference's No. 1 berth and an opening-round bye in the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Oct. 16.

Dusty, tarnished trophies that were missing tennis racquets record the program's storied history from 1976-1990 in glass-covered cases sitting in the school's main hallway. Goldsboro won eight Mideastern 4-A Conference regular-season titles and four state championships, including the inaugural NCHSAA 4-A dual-team crown in 1990.

The program's last dual-team appearance was 1994.

"I was hoping that we would be in contention for the conference championship," Randolph said. "I knew that North Duplin was going to be a tough team to beat, but they suffered an unfortunate accident at the beginning of the season.

"I'm just overwhelmed that we continued to play hard over the season and we just got it done."

Goldsboro lost one senior to graduation, but returned five of its top six singles players this season. Randolph lost senior Mackenzie Malham to an injury before the team's first dual match, but her teammates stepped up to the challenge.

The Cougars' lone hiccup during their banner season was a loss to North Duplin in second-half play. Even then, Randolph said her team felt confident it could finish the job and did so with three victories in a 24-hour span this week.

After a three-point road conquest of Ayden-Grifton on Wednesday, Goldsboro polished off its championship season with back-to-back shutouts over Rosewood. The teams played pro sets (eight games) in singles and doubles.

Randolph had to re-arrange her lineup due to the absence of second-seeded Randa Boykin, who suffered a foot injury Tuesday. Cassidy Morris filled Boykin's vacancy and lost just three games in two singles matches. Teammates Jessica Calvert, Davis Houtzer, Sidney Cox, Cayce Hoggard and Malham each concluded the day 2-0 in singles competition.

Calvert-Morris, Houtzer-Malham and Hoggard-Cox each logged a 2-0 worksheet in doubles play.

"They played really well, hard all the way to the end today," Randolph said. "After we beat North Duplin during the first half of conference play, I think my girls knew they could do this. They knew they had the ability to win."