Rolesville continued a season-long trend Monday as it ran the table against East Wake in a Greater Neuse River Conference girls tennis match.
The 9-0 outcome kept the visiting Rams (7-3 overall, 6-3 GNRC 4A) unbeaten in the league against teams not named Clayton or West Johnston.
It also capped off a sweep in the home-and-home series with the Warriors, whom the Rams defeated 8-1 in August, and the all-freshman Rolesville doubles duo of Jade Houston and Camryn Straughn maintained their undefeated status for season.
“We tend to play better in doubles than we do in singles,” said Rams coach Logan Brendle. “We’re kind of top-heavy. My (singles Nos.) 1-3 are very strong. We get complacent as a team and whether we’re up or down, I see a lot of stiff-leggedness – a lack of a sense of urgency. That’s something we’ve been emphasizing is a sense of urgency.”
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Some of those issues haunted the Rams, Brendle said, as they lost to GNRC-leading Clayton, 6-3, on Sept. 7. Rolesville also came up a match short in both season dates against West Johnston – conceding two tiebreak decisions in the second meeting with the No. 2 Wildcats on Sept. 14.
The Rams will get a second stab against Clayton on the road Monday, Oct. 3.
Those opponents aside, Rolesville’s results have looked a lot like they did Monday against East Wake (3-5 overall and in GNRC) – a team that features a mix of young and older players, both in age and experience.
While the singles players Nos. 1-4 competed last year for the Warriors, the rest of the lineup is green to the sport. Some of the seniors on the team had never played tennis before deciding they wanted to try something different before their high school careers conclude.
“I thought it would be fun,” said East Wake’s Kate Alford. “I wanted something new to do.”
East Wake’s wins came against Knightdale and twice against Southeast Raleigh.
Warriors coach Garry Allmon said the combination of rain and heat that affected practice and play time for all teams early in the season particularly hurt his learning squad.
“We just haven’t had time to get out on the court to work on things for the ones that need that time to work on things,” Allmon said.
The match was decided with Rolesville claiming the first five singles matches to finish, with four of those coming in straight sets.
The order of the singles matches was Houston over Malaika Nzau (6-0, 6-0); Nikoro Uzoho over Ebony Montague (6-0, 6-1); Straughn over Kate Williams (6-2, 6-0); Katie Nguyen over Bailey Watkins (4-6, 6-2 (10-3)); Makayla Thomas over Gabby Buchanan (6-7, 7-5 (10-8)); and Morgan Thomas over Camryn Lipford (6-2, 6-1).
Houston and Straughn kept their streak alive with an 8-4 win over Nzau and Montague.
Uzoho and Nguyen also won 8-4 over Watkins and Lipford in the No. 2 doubles match, and the Rams’ Grayson Averette and Chelsi Olivarez held on for an 8-6 victory over Alanah Mack and Chinwendu Achonu in the No. 3 match.
THEY SAID IT
Allmon said that despite the challenges his players have faced this season, they’ve done all he’s asked of them and more.
“And, more importantly, they’re having fun,” Allmon said. “I tell them regardless of who were playing, let’s go out and enjoy ourselves and have fun. It’s a good group of girls.”