Patrick Longest said losing to Wakefield this year was the low point in Broughton’s season. The high point came Monday afternoon when the Caps beat the previously undefeated Wolverines 5-4 on their own tennis courts.
Broughton (13-3) won the match by winning two of the three doubles matches. The teams split the six singles matches.
Longest played his part in leading the Caps to victory. He defeated Andrew Swaim 6-7, 6-2, 10-1. Then, in doubles play, he and partner Andrew Waddell defeated Bo Boyden and Jensen Martin 8-4.
“I felt like I saw the ball really well, especially in the doubles match,” Longest said. “I played one of the best doubles matches of my life.”
The Caps are now tied with the Wolverines (14-1) atop Cap Eight conference standings.
A month ago, Wakefield defeated Broughton 7-2. That result was surprising to both teams since Wakefield was not in the N.C. Tennis Association 4A preseason poll, yet Broughton was. Entering Monday’s match, Wakefield was ranked second in the state with Broughton just below the Wolverines at No. 3.
Longest remembers the loss to Wakefield – mostly because he wasn’t a part of that match.
Longest didn’t play against Wakefield on March 15 because he was recovering from mononucleosis.
“It was rough because I’ve known a lot of these guys for so long,” Longest said of his teammates. “It wasn’t embarrassing, but they beat us. I missed playing, and that made it hurt even more.”
Even now, Longest said he isn’t playing at full strength. Coach Bill White said he was impressed with the mobility and toughness Longest showed in his two victories.
“He’s a real competitor,” White said. “If you can just keep battling, which Patrick is good at, and you grab the momentum, it’s hard for the other guys to get it back quick enough.”
White was also pleased with his two freshmen in Taylor Boole and Campbell Stone. Boole defeated Brad Land 6-3, 6-2. Stone beat Nick Portera 6-3, 4-6, 10-3.
“They played fantastic,” Wakefield coach Ken Stewart said of the Caps. “I think they played a little harder than we did. I told my guys a loss teaches you more than a win. Hopefully, we’ll learn from this.”
The best match of the day was Wakefield’s Andrew Belonga against Broughton’s Carlton Bunn. That match lasted two hours and 16 minutes and was full of rallies by both players. Belonga won 7-6, 5-7, 10-8, which tied the two teams before playing the doubles matches.
The doubles matches were where Broughton showed its strength. It’s also where Wakefield displayed its inexperience. All season long, the Wolverines had defeated their opponents without having to win any doubles matches.
“The last couple of years, we’ve really tried to put more of an emphasis on doubles,” White said of the Caps. “We’ve really gotten better. When you win close matches like this, it gives you confidence.”