Spring hasn’t sprung yet, but at least the snow and ice have melted from the tennis courts, allowing Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina to meet in a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference match.
Holly Springs, playing its season opener after three days of practice, won 7-2 on Monday over the host Bengals, who were playing their third match after only one practice.
“It’s great to finally get out here and play,” said Holly Springs senior Collin Carter, who won at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1. “We’ve been training in the offseason and think we have some potential this year. We’re hoping for big things.”
Fuquay-Varina, despite the one-sided loss, also is excited about the new season. The Bengals were off to a 2-0 start before losing to the Golden Hawks. Fuquay defeated Lee County 7-2 in a non-conference match and then won their SWAC opener Friday over Middle Creek 5-4 in 35-degree weather.
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“That’s the first time we’ve won a conference match since I’ve been here,” said Fuquay team captain Riley Pearson, a junior. “It’ll be nice not to see 0-14 in the conference standings in the paper.”
Fuquay’s two points were scored by junior Colton Laviska at No. 6 singles and with sophomore Ian Dersham at No. 3 doubles. Laviska won his singles match 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 and won doubles with Dersham 8-5.
First-year Fuquay coach Marshall Wortham is still learning about his players, but he likes what he has seen so far of their competitive nature. Two of the Bengals’ losses went to a tiebreaker.
At No. 3 singles, Holly Springs senior Kevin Kelly won 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 over freshman Ryan Walzer, while at No. 5 singles Holly Springs junior Siddarth Vasisth won 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 over sophomore Ian Dersham.
“At this point, I just want them to be competitive,” Wortham said. “You have to be competitive before you can win.”
Holly Springs’ other four points were recorded by junior Grant Miller at No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-0; freshman Cade Bushee, 6-3, 6-2; the No. 1 doubles team of Collin Carter and Kelly, 8-0; and the No. 2 doubles team of Miller and Bushee, 8-2.
“We feel we’re right in the mix of the conference,” said Holly Springs coach Nick Nosbisch, while acknowledging Green Hope is still the SWAC’s dominant program. “Our goal is to always make the playoffs.”
The Golden Hawks like their strength at the top with Collin Carter, Miller and Chris Gold, although Gold didn’t play against Fuquay. Miller and Gold were both NCHSAA regional qualifiers last year. Depth was added with two key freshmen, Bushee and Graham Carter.
“I feel I’ve improved my consistency this year,” Miller said. “Chris is right there with us and Cade is playing really well. We’re glad the weather has finally cleared up.”