Sofia Anthony got to Broughton High School minutes before her tennis match was scheduled to start.
The Sanderson junior was running a bit late and had to drive to the site.
After persevering through her No. 4 singles win against Broughton’s aggressive Meg Hardesty, Anthony didn’t appear to have missed a beat in Sanderson’s 7-2 victory over the Capitals on Tuesday evening.
Anthony later teamed up with freshman No. 1 seed Sibel Tanik, as Sanderson’s doubles anchored a significant Cap-8 Conference win.
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“I think it’s big that we beat them and won all three doubles,” Anthony said. “This was big for us because Broughton’s always been a good team, and they’re still a good team. But I think we’ve gotten a lot stronger, and we only have one new player in the top six this year.”
The teams were co-conference champions last year.
While Sanderson coach Joe Mesiano said anybody would want to win the league outright, his Spartans may have just gotten one step closer to that goal.
“I think we’re close,” he said, “but you don’t know who’s good and how good we really are until you’re halfway through the season. The final score here was 7-2, but the matches were so close.”
Creating some separation among the top Cap-8 teams wasn’t the only reason the match was special, as both teams entered undefeated.
Mesiano was Broughton coach Andy Fowler’s assistant for about eight years during Fowler’s 25-year stint at Sanderson.
During the match, they shared stories and laughs. Fowler even ran into some of her former players, who now have daughters on Sanderson’s tennis team.
“He’s got quite a team,” Fowler said about her former assistant. “There’s always been a rivalry between Sanderson and Brougton. With me formerly being there, it’s just kind of weird.”
Anthony’s singles made the difference in the first half of the match. She and Hardesty were the last singles on the court with the Spartans (5-0) then leading, 3-2.
Anthony and Tanik, sprinkling the drop shots on heavy throughout the match, topped its opponent, 8-4, to end the night.
Three who mattered
Anthony, Sanderson: Her singles battle was as impressive as it was close. She carried the energy into the doubles round.
Becket Waters, Broughton: The freshman’s tough singles win gave Broughton a chance early in the match.
No. 2 doubles team (Dylan Cannon and Anna Scott Holshouser): The pair played an aggressive and upbeat battle against Broughton to contribute to the doubles sweep.
They said it
Mesiano on channeling team’s aggressiveness: “No grandmas in tennis allowed. You’ve got to whack the ball. I’d rather see you lose 6-0, 6-0 than win playing like a grandma, because you can’t get better doing that.
Out of bounds
While the final doubles teams were preparing for their last round, a squirrel jumped on the court and held up the match for a brief moment.
Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan