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For a case study in winning dual-team tennis matches at the high school level, open the applicable textbooks to the Beddingfield High girls in two matches this week.
Coming off a 6-3 win over Tarboro on Tuesday afternoon that saw the Lady Bruins sweep all three doubles matches, Beddingfield repeated the outcome against a reinvigorated team from Hunt.
With the Lady Bruins trailing 3-1 at one time, Beddingfield picked up tough second-set wins from seniors Karissa Hayes and Jaylah Moore at Nos. 1 and 4 singles to even it up, and the doubles units did the rest in a 6-3 Beddingfield victory.
Beddingfield of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference remained unbeaten at 4-0 and completed the season sweep of the Lady Warriors. Hunt remained winless through four matches, including a 7-2 loss last week to the Lady Bruins without the services of senior Megan Tillotson, its usual No. 3 player. North Johnston, Beddingfield’s EPC cohort, staggered Hunt with an 8-1 loss Tuesday afternoon.
Indeed, practice paid off for Beddingfield, now 6-0 in doubles contests in the past two days.
“It was just happenstance and I don’t claim to know it, but I felt like the singles matches would be tighter,” Beddingfield head coach Jeremy Howard said of the second meeting between the teams. “We knew they had gotten their three back (Tillotson), and we felt like we didn’t get Tarboro’s absolute best effort the first time. Something told me to work on doubles on Monday, and that’s all we did on Monday’s practice. And it paid off.”
All three Beddingfield doubles units won by 8-3 scores, with sophomore Annie Greene and senior Vanessa Urieta combining for the win at No. 3 doubles. The clinching match came at No. 2 doubles, with the senior tandem of Cathy Nicholson-Jaylah Moore moving past Tillotson and sophomore Allie Parbst. Moore’s wingspan at the net and Nicholson’s court coverage have combined to give the Lady Bruins an experienced, if not unconventional duo in their third year as a doubles team.
Urieta was inserted as a fresh substitute for doubles as the 3-A Big East Conference Lady Warriors deployed their teams in seeding order.
“It paid dividends and it worked out for us all the way around,” Howard said. “My girls played really well on the back half of this match.”
Ensuring a singles split didn’t come without some tense moments for the Lady Bruins, who already had sophomore Annie Greene off the court with a win at No. 5. With three of the first four matches off the court claimed by Hunt, Hayes was up a set and 5-2 to Lady Warriors junior Cara Moss. But Moss began to string winners together, and the result was Hayes battling through noticeable, negative body language as Moss climbed to 5-4.
However, Hayes improved to 4-0 in singles play by seizing the final game and turning back a determined Moss 6-1, 6-4. Moore allowed Parbst to climb to within 5-4 in the second set before closing it out with a 6-2, 6-4 win.
“Tennis is all mental to me,” Hayes said. “My singles match, I was out there for a while and I got wore out. But I wasn’t going to let that affect how I played my doubles. I wasn’t going to let my partner down. We just picked each other up, and during the doubles match, we just gave each other some pointers. We worked on it, and we came through.”
Hayes and senior Yaqueline Rangel turned in Beddingfield’s sixth and final point with their 8-3 conquest of Moss and senior Logan Hinnant at No. 1.
Hunt’s half of the singles split was created by senior Logan Hinnant’s 6-2, 6-4 win over Nicholson and Tillotson stopping Rangel 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 3 spot. The Lady Warriors had the first singles match off the court with as junior Camille Ruiz eased by Beddingfield senior Ashley Alarcon 6-1, 6-1.
“Going in 3-3, I felt pretty good after singles,” Hunt coach Wayne Hardy said. “We got into doubles, I never would have thought they would have swept us. I just told them tomorrow, we’ll dedicate to doubles work and we’ll switch up our doubles combinations and be ready to rock and roll. But overall, I was pleased that did play fairly well. After playing (Tuesday) at North Johnston, we played a lot better today than we did yesterday.”
Added Hardy: “We’ve just got to be ready to compete when the match is on the line. I think too many times, we just made bad shots and we couldn’t let it go. It’s a mental thing. Mental toughness today was the key for them I think, and we’ve got to get a little more stronger mentally.”
Beddingfield will receive its toughest test to date Tuesday, when it visits North Johnston for the EPC opener. Big East play also looms for Hunt, which visits Northern Nash that same day.
“It feels really good,” Hayes said. “Most teams don’t get 4-0 at the beginning of the season.”
BEDDINGFIELD 6, HUNT 3
Karissa Hayes (B) def. Cara Moss 6-1, 6-4; Logan Hinnant (H) def. Cathy Nicholson 6-2, 6-4; Megan Tillotson (H) def. Yaqueline Rangel 6-4, 6-1; Jaylah Moore (B) def. Aly Parbst 6-2, 6-4; Annie Greene (B) def. McKenzie Hinnant 6-3, 6-1; Camile Ruiz (H) def. Ashley Alarcon 6-1, 6-1.
Hayes-Rangel (B) def. Moss-L. Hinnant 8-3; Nicholson-Moore (B) def. Tillotson-Parbst 8-3; Greene-Vanessa Urieta (B) def. M.Hinnant-Ruiz 8-3.