Persistence pays off for Warriors
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 6, 2013 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Eastern Wayne executed the most difficult of disciplines -- patience -- to near perfection Thursday afternoon.
A little success in tiebreakers helped, too.
Persistent from the opening serve, the No. 5-ranked Warriors stuck to their tactics and aggravated archrival Charles B. Aycock on every point. Eastern Wayne triumphed in two third-set tiebreakers and claimed a 7-2 victory on the Luke Vail Tennis Courts.
The Warriors (7-0 overall) beat the Golden Falcons for the 11th time since 2007 and seized sole possession of the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference girls' tennis lead at 4-0.
"I told the girls going in if we can work and put ourselves in good standing after singles, hopefully it would take some pressure off of us in doubles," EW head coach Craig Hassell said. "Fortunately, we were able to squeak out the five (singles) wins."
Second-seeded Savannah Sutton, one of four seniors in the starting lineup, started the Warriors surge with a straight-set victory over the Golden Falcons' Rachel Jordan. Teammate Cameron Dove triumphed at the No. 4 spot and cousin, Faith Sutton, pulled off at defensive-filled surprise at No. 1 singles.
A former independent schools state champion, Sutton upended Ashton Walker 6-4, 7-6 (5). Sutton moved the reigning eastern singles champion around the court, mixed in a few lobs and induced several uncharacteristic unforced errors.
"Ashton doesn't get a lot of challenges and this is the first match she played someone who can challenge her," CBA head coach Summer Pennington said. "It was a 'lob and slower-paced' game than what she liked. They both played well and it was a good match to watch.
"I don't have a group of players who like to play a patient, almost at times a lob game, and I have to commend Eastern Wayne for sticking to the game plan because it worked."
Eastern Wayne secured the match at Nos. 5 and 6 singles, which were determined by third-set tiebreakers. Debbie Mitchell turned back CBA's Kassidy Pitchford 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-8 while teammate Brennan Dove triumphed 6-2, 3-6, 10-4.
Hassell credited the duo for their consistent play.
"We've had some big contributions down in the lower seeds (this season)," Hassell said. "Debbie had a bit of an off day and stuck with it. Pitchford keeps a lot of balls in play. Brennan, to be a freshman, pulled out a third-setter that was pretty big, too."
The Warriors' F. Sutton-S. Sutton won 9-7 over Walker-Cassidy Coerver at No. 1 doubles. The Dove sisters, McKenna and Cameron, took an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles.
Casie Belom claimed the lone singles point for the Golden Falcons. Jordan and playing partner Megan Parrish pulled out an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles.
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