High School Sports

Corinth Holders’ Dyer, Triton duo roll to Two Rivers 3A tennis titles

Megan Dyer of Corinth Holders races to return a volley on her way to the Two Rivers 3A Conference singles championship Tuesday in Smithfield.
Megan Dyer of Corinth Holders races to return a volley on her way to the Two Rivers 3A Conference singles championship Tuesday in Smithfield. newsobserver.com

There wasn’t much intrigue left when the Two Rivers 3A Conference girls tennis tournaments moved to the final match stage on Tuesday at Smithfield-Selma High School. Both the singles and doubles championships were won at love (6-0, 6-0), continuing the domination trends shown throughout the league regular season by Corinth Holders and Triton.

Corinth Holders (13-1 overall) won its first dual team conference title, ending Triton’s long reign over the league. The Hawks (14-2) finished second with Cleveland (7-8) overall in third.

The Pirates had three of the four singles semifinalists: top-seeded Megan Dyer, Ashley Stufano and Alex Rodier.

The trio played with the confidence that continued to grow as it did throughout the regular season with Dyer, the Pirates’ top seed prevailing.

“It’s a fantastic honor, I feel proud to have worked so hard the last four years to achieve this,” Dyer said. “I just have a lot more drive to do my best and play all the way through.”

Corinth Holders coach Jeff Parker, in his first year coaching tennis, tracks the progression back to an early-season Saturday match against Greene Central.

“They’re a great team and we were in a lot of the matches,” Parker said. “It showed us we could play better than we had in years past. We won our first two matches 9-0, beat Cleveland 8-1 and just built our momentum from there.”

The Pirates rode the leadership of its six seniors: Dyer, Stufano, Tayah Hichue, Amanda Eckard, Lauren Boyd and Kaitlyn Cook. Three of those – Dyer, Stufano and Hichue – are up for either the Morehead or Park scholarships this year.

Freshman Isabella Duncan went undefeated at No. 5 singles, as did Cecilia Fricke at No. 4 singles.

“It was great coaching and we worked really hard, got along great and just did what we are supposed to do,” said Dyer.

Singles

Stufano was the surprise semifinalist, downing third-seeded Caroline Carter of Smithfield-Selma in the opening round, 9-7. She turned back South Johnston’s Emma Westbrook in the quarterfinals before falling to Cleveland’s Kayla Smith in the semifinals.

Rodier rolled to wins over Sarah Mills of SSS and Cleveland’s Kayley Clifton in the first two rounds before giving Dyer her toughest of three matches on the day, a 6-2, 6-1 decision.

After taking a bye in the first round, Dyer downed Cleveland’s Anna Kate Gilchrist, 6-0, 6-0. In the finals meeting with Smith, the Pirate senior was in charge throughout as Smith battled through pain from an arm injury to compete.

“Megan has basically been unchallenged in conference play this year,” Parker said. “It was just like she made her mind up that she wasn’t going to accept anything else but being a champion this year. It was a big confidence thing.”

The Pirates will host a first round dual 3A playoff match against Rockingham County on Tuesday.

Doubles

Triton’s Emily Neville and Madison Newton continued their stellar season in rolling to the doubles championship, downing teammates Bailey Williams and Hailey Melgarejo, 6-0, 6-0. Neville and Newton are 15-0 on the season and Tuesday’s championship was their second consecutive conference title.

Doubles semifinalists were Abby Siegert and Sarah Rose of Cleveland and Corinth Holders’ Duncan and Fricke.

Consolation matches were not played in either singles or doubles.

D. Clay Best: 919-524-8895, @dclaybest

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