Apex Friendship’s girls tennis team netted the first varsity win in the first-year school’s history on Wednesday.
Friendship, which had just three players during tryouts and didn’t have a coach until three days before the season, defeated a short-handed Cary squad 7-2.
“It’s crazy, I feel so accomplished,” freshman Whitney Lammers said.
Friendship athletics director Matt Clifton was in attendance to see the victory. The Patriots’ tennis squad – like many of the other Friendship teams – is made up entirely of underclassmen.
“It’s so awesome, it’s part of the reason I took the job,” Clifton said. “The chance to build programs from the ground up, see programs grow and see the kids be successful.”
The Patriots (1-2, 1-2) got a small boost in the scorebooks early as the Imps (0-4, 0-3) were forced to forfeit a singles and doubles set due to only having five available players on the roster.
The No. 2 doubles tandem of freshmen Samantha Duggans and Whitney Lammers overtook the Imps 8-4 to open the afternoon, giving the Patriots their first-ever set victory after being shut out by more experienced teams from Apex and Fuquay-Varina to open the season.
“It feels so great,” Duggans added. “Maybe we’ll go to a state final … if not, we’ll make a lot of friends.”
Hannah Dilday’s No. 3 singles win negated any hope of a Cary comeback attempt, stretching the Friendship lead to 4-2.
“I love their enthusiasm and sportsmanship,” Friendship coach Allison Byrd said. “I’m not discouraged by any scores right now, we’re in the process of building … and the program has a great future.”
They said it
Dilday, a sophomore transfer from Panther Creek, is relishing the opportunity to be a part of something new.
“It’s so cool that we’re establishing the culture here, getting a fresh start to set new traditions.”
Three who mattered
Donalyse Tyrell, Cary: Tyrell dominated her No. 1 singles match with a 12-2 overall advantage after two sets. Her athleticism proved to be the deciding factor in Cary’s 8-5 No. 1 doubles victory.
Whitney Lammers, Friendship: Earned the first Friendship point of the afternoon in her doubles match and then collected the final point of the day by staging a dramatic comeback against Kelsieanne Schmidt in the No. 4 singles match.
Abigail Russell, Friendship: Her lengthy back-and-forth singles earned Friendship their fifth point of the match, clinching the victory.
By the numbers
5: The amount of players Cary had available for the match. Friendship had nine.
142: Minutes that the No. 5 singles match between Friendship’s Russel and Cary’s Noelle Napon lasted. Russel came out on top (7-5, 6-3).
4: Consecutive wins by the Patriots to conclude the game after the Imps came out with a 2-1 lead (not including forfeits).