Clayton had its two closest dual girls tennis matches of the season against rivals Garner and West Johnston last week. Close, being a relative term when it comes to the Comets, of course.
Clayton moved to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference with the victories – an 8-1 decision over Garner on Monday and a 9-0 sweep of West on Wednesday. The wins moved the Clayton conference dual match winning streak to 83 in a row.
Against previously unbeaten West Johnston, the Comets were dominant in some matches and played the Wildcats almost even in others.
The difference was the Comets almost always won the deciding points.
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“This was a much closer match than the score looks,” said Clayton coach Ken Stivason. “Three matches could have easily gone either way, so we were a few points away from this being a 6-3 match. We had two freshman who battled each other in a really long singles match and doubles matches that could have gone either way as well.”
The longest match of the day came at No. 5 singles where Clayton freshman Jackie Rollins dropped the first set to West frosh Carrington Mack before rallying for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-0, 10-7 win on a tiebreaker.
Clayton won the other five singles matches in straight sets. Carmelle Joyner remained unbeaten in her career in GNRC matches with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles and senior Katherine Riley downed Sabrina Fink, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2.
Sophomore Sydney Rushing won at No. 3 (6-4, 6-2 over West’s Jessica Reese), freshman Crystal Anderson won at No. 4 (6-1, 6-0 over Veronica McLean) and Hannah Kellum won (6-1, 6-1 over West’s Blair Wright) at No. 6.
Kellum and Wilder needed 16 games to down West’s Mack and Wright at No. 3 doubles, 9-7. Rushing and Andersen were 8-5 winners at No. 2 doubles (over McLean and Carmen Juarez); Joyner and Riley took an 8-4 win over Serrell and Reese at No. 1.
West Johnston was 50-4 in individual dual match results collectively entering Wednesday’s match. Clayton’s dual match-by-dual match jumped to 53-1 on the season with the sweep.
Garner’s doubles combo of Kira Jackson and Kari Sutton took the first match off of Clayton this year on Monday with a tiebreaker win, 9-8 (8-5) over Kellum and Wilder.
Clayton dropped just two games in the six singles matches.