One of the truisms of tennis is that the final score is often misleading. The quality of play is sometimes better measured by individual points than by set scores.
By the first measure, Chapel Hill already is a vastly improved team over last year’s. But, by the latter, East Chapel Hill is still a dominating crosstown rival.
East Chapel Hill (6-0) blanked Chapel Hill (5-1) by a 9-0 score Thursday on the Tigers’ home courts. The Wildcats continued their undefeated string in singles, having won every match so far this season on courts No. 1-6.
Chapel Hill coach Neil Alderman was less focused on his team’s first loss of the fall season than on the fact it took an undefeated 4A program to do it. The Tigers still look like a favorite to win the 3A Big 8 Conference.
“We did a lot better than last year,” Alderman said. “Last year we barely got games. This year we won sets, and there were a lot of tiebreakers.
“I’m very pleased. We’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve got farther to go, but I’m pleased with the progress.”
East Chapel Hill coach Nick Walker saw it much the same way.
“He (Alderman) has a nice team,” Walker said. “We saw some really strong second sets from both sides.”
The day’s closest match came at No. 2 singles, where East’s Iskra Joksimovic won the first set 6-3, and Chapel Hill’s Gabby Kmiec won the second 6-7, before Joksimovic won the third-set tiebreaker 10-6.
East sophomore Victoria Jones, playing her first singles match since a pre-season ankle injury, needed to win a first set tiebreaker before prevailing 7-6(5), 7-5 over Gabe Chew at No. 3 singles. Likewise, Chapel Hill’s Hailey Polsky took East’s Jocelyn Reckford to a second set tiebreaker before Reckford won 6-1, 7-6(8).
East Chapel Hill ninth-grader Savannah Bright improved to 6-0 at No. 1 singles with her 6-1, 6-2 win over Chapel Hill ninth-grader Carolina Coch.
East’s Madison Lewis downed Ellen Yu 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 and Isabel green won 6-2, 6-0 over Chistina Park at No. 6.
With the team match already decided, the East doubles teams swept their pro-sets: Joksimovic-Jonesat 8-1; Savannah and Cassidy Bright 8-1; and Reckford-Lewis 8-1.