RALEIGH — Tensions were high for two Cap-8 squads that split their season series in conference play as Broughton downed Wakefield on Monday with a 5-3 victory in the third round of the 4A men’s tennis playoffs at Millbrook High.
After taking four out of six matches in singles, the Capitals needed just one victory in doubles to advance and got the final 10-5 win from sophomores Taylor Boole and Campbell Stone to claim their second team win over the Wolverines this season.
“Wakefield is a very good team and we are a very good team, and these usually come down to one match,” Broughton coach Bill White said of the match. “There’s a lot at stake in the eastern semifinals because there’s a lot on the line and that means there will be some tension. That’s the great thing about high school sports.
“This will be a night our guys will remember for a while.”
One of the biggest upsets of the contest was in the No. 2 match between Broughton senior Patrick Longest and Wakefield sophomore Jensen Martin. Coming into the match, Martin had swept Longest in both matches between the two teams handily – but that changed quickly on Monday.
After jumping out to an easy 6-1 lead in the first set, Martin was clearly frustrated as he spoke with coach Ken Stewart between sets. The sophomore showed some fight in the second set, but was still ousted by a final of 7-5 as Longest moved to 11-5 on the season and dropped Martin to 13-3.
“We were really just hoping that we could squeeze out a win at No. 2 or 3, so when Pat (Longest) got that win, that was a pretty big advantage for us,” White said. “That was a huge match for him and probably the best match I’ve seen him play this year.
“It was also the smartest match he’s played all year because he really made Jensen work and didn’t give him any easy points.”
For Wakefield coach Ken Stewart, it was simply a matter of experience in tough situations that propelled the senior over the sophomore.
“Broughton’s seniors really stepped up today,” he said. “And Longest was a perfect example of that. Longest is a gamer and he showed that he was determined to do whatever he needed to do in that situation.”
Boyden stays undefeated
Outside of Longest, the rest of the top three for Broughton were unable to pull out a win as Bo Boyden continued his undefeated season with his 20th win in straight sets over Andrew Wadell, and Andrew Belonga came back after dropping the first set to down Carlton Bunn, 1-6, 6-2, 10-7.
The momentum shift for the Wolverines came in the No. 4, 5 and 6 matches, where sophomores Boole and Stone combined with freshman Blaise Waters to win all three matches in straight sets.
The three underclassmen – who came into the match with a combined 47-2 record during the regular season – made easy work of Kyle McKeeman, Lake Ihly and Eric Beam of the Wolverines.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how solid our four, five and six guys have been for us this year,” White said. “We count on those guys to get us a W – and they do. We really couldn’t be where we are without them. They are young, but they play with a lot of poise when everything’s on the line.”