Eastern Wake: Sports

East Wake boys tennis continues to rely on strong doubles play

East Wake’s Will Clement stretches to hit a backhand in his singles match in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference tournament in 2013.
East Wake’s Will Clement stretches to hit a backhand in his singles match in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference tournament in 2013. newsobserver.com

The grueling, head-to-head nature of tennis singles is part of what makes the sport so appealing.

East Wake boys tennis head coach Jackson Glasgow, however, places a premium on doubles play.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve been dominant in doubles,” said Glasgow, now in his fourth season with the Warriors. “That’s what I prefer to play, and I love coaching doubles strategy.”

Glasgow’s teams have sent a doubles pairing to the regional playoffs in each of his first three seasons as head coach. He does not see that streak coming to an end this spring.

East Wake’s No. 1 pairing of senior David Egan and junior Will Clement is the favorite to wind up at regionals after the regular season. The playing styles of Egan and Clement complement each other nicely and make them a formidable tandem, according to their coach.

“David Egan is a great net player,” Glasgow said. “Will Clement is the base-liner. They do a good job communicating with each other and knowing where each other is going to be. They’re both very well-taught with their positioning.”

Egan is getting his first taste of the top doubles pairing, after spending each of the past three seasons at the No. 3 spot. In Clement, he teams up with East Wake’s No. 1 singles player who finished fourth overall in the conference last year.

While Glasgow anticipates success for the duo this spring, producing a winning squad will mean more than sending just a strong doubles team to the court. On that note, this spring’s edition of East Wake boys tennis has big shoes to fill.

In three seasons, Glasgow transformed a .500 team into a state playoff contender. The Warriors finished tied for second in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference last season.

“Our goal is to equal (last year’s finish),” Glasgow said. “We lost a lot of seniors from the 2013 team.”

Glasgow sees Clayton as the preeminent force in the league, but he sees no reason why his squad can’t nab the second-place slot for a second consecutive season. A young cast will fill in behind the likes of Egan and Clement, so the Warriors will depend on some inexperienced players to recreate last season’s success.

“Most of those guys are young, either sophomores or freshman,” Glasgow said. “Half the match is on their shoulders, so we’ll expect them to progress and get a lot better throughout the season.”

They’ve shown promise early this season. The Warriors opened with victories over Garner and Smithfield-Selma – both by a score of 7-2. If they can keep rolling through a tough road stretch, they could find themselves cruising through the back half of the schedule on their home court.

“We go on the road early,” Glasgow said, “but seven of our last eight matches are supposed to be played at home. If we can make it through the first half, we should be ready for the second half when it comes along.”

The big dates Glasgow has circled on the calendar are the ones with West Johnston, Garner and next-door rival Knightdale. Each one marks a pivotal conference match.