Chargers, Eagles fall in semifinal round
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 28, 2012 1:50 AM
WILSON -- A perennial powerhouse and a long-time nemesis stood between state-championship dreams for county girls' tennis archrivals Wayne Country Day and Wayne Christian on a blustery, cool Friday afternoon.
Their respective paths to the inaugural N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A dual-team championship match stopped in semifinal-round play at the Barton College Tennis Complex.
Top-seeded Statesville Christian handed Wayne Christian a season-ending, 9-0 loss. Second-seeded Greenfield rallied from a three-point deficit to upend Wayne Country Day, 5-4, in a 21/2-hour marathon.
Statesville claimed its ninth consecutive state title with an 8-1 triumph over Greenfield later in the day.
"We were so hoping for an all-Wayne County final because I really thought Wayne Christian was playing the best of tennis among the top three teams in the East," Wayne Country Day head coach Joann Logan said. "Today was a tough one, but I couldn't be more prouder of this group of girls. They gave it their all and we almost pulled it off."
The third-seeded Chargers (13-3 overall) and Knights split their regular-season series and shared the Coastal Plains Independent Conference title.
The "rubber match" favored WCDS early. Logan's squad earned two doubles points from the tandems of Gianna Democko-Meredith Roethling and Sarah Best-Abbey Pope.
Democko and Best each earned a straight-set singles win, but Wayne Country Day couldn't keep the momentum. Greenfield used its depth at the lower seeds and capped its come-from-behind win with Ann-Moore Robertson's 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 triumph over Margaux Pope at the No. 6 slot.
"I felt for Margaux," Logan said. "She's got a lot of heart and is going to be a force to be reckoned with. She's only a freshman."
Statesville (15-1) swept the doubles against fourth-seeded Wayne Christian and carried the momentum over into singles. Fifth-seeded Becky Barker and second-seeded Jessica Rumple each emerged victorious in straight-set fashion, and clinched the overall outcome for the Lions.
"They're a deep team and have several girls who play at the academy in Winston-Salem," Wayne Christian head coach Dana Willman said. "I think it was a matter of playing just one more ball, not going for too much too soon. On some of our courts, we tried to end the point maybe too soon.
"I don't think they should be unhappy with the way they played. Anytime you know you playing Statesville, you think 'how are we going to do this?' I just told them to relax, have fun and give it their all."
Three seniors played their final match -- Best and Abbey Pope for the Chargers, and top-seeded Brooke Barfield for Wayne Christian.
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