05/01/13 — Washington ousts Eastern Wayne from dual-team playoffs

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Washington ousts Eastern Wayne from dual-team playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 1, 2013 1:47 PM

Eastern Wayne's journey in the dual-team tennis postseason abruptly ended with an opening-round loss for the second straight year Tuesday afternoon.

Washington collected two doubles points and prevailed 5-4 in the 3-A classification of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs in breezy, cool conditions. The Pam Pack (15-3 overall) travels to unbeaten and state-ranked Union Pines next Tuesday.

The Warriors ended the year 9-3.

"I thought our team competed hard today, but came up short against a very deep Washington team," said Eastern Wayne head coach Craig Hassell, whose team fell to Northern Nash in first-round play last season.

Two of the Pam Pack's top seven singles players missed the match. The absences forced head coach Miranda Whitley to retool her lineup, which forced a 3-3 tie after singles play.

"We were a little short-handed, but it worked out," Whitley said. "I think we played really well. A lot of the singles matches were close, and they really surprised me. The three, four and five singles matches were those that counted the most.

"And the two doubles matches."

Eastern Wayne's Chaz Fitzpatrick and Mitchell Kaspar triumphed at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Fitzpatrick remained unbeaten in 16 outings this season and posted his 13th shutout of the season. Kaspar rallied from an opening-set deficit to Holt McKeithan 6-2, 6-4.

Fitzpatrick-Kaspar (11-0) claimed the Warriors' lone doubles point with a 10-0 rout of Luke Harris-Dhruv Patel at the No. 1 spot.

"Mitchell has experienced a great senior year," Hassell said.

Sixth-seeded Sam Biggs collected the Warriors' third singles point with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over Patel at No. 6 singles.

Washington won at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles; and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles.

"At the beginning of the season, we were not as strong at doubles as we are now," Whitley said. "It makes me really happy to see that they have progressed and gotten better in doubles."

It was the final dual-team match for seven Eastern Wayne seniors -- Fitzpatrick, Kaspar, Sawyer Thompson, Matt Holland, Brett Chapman, Jaelan Johnson and Matt Wilkins.

The Warriors and Pam Pack met in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

"Despite this being a tough loss, our team managed to as the Eastern Carolina Conference champions in the regular season," Hassell said. "We lose seven of 10 players to graduation after this season and look to our JV team to build upon next year's squad."