The Fike High girls tennis team launched not only the 2018 season but also its bid for a fourth consecutive Wilson Cup championship with a milestone triumph Monday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the sixth annual Cup on the Barton College and Fike High courts.
In conquering Corinth Holders of the Northern 4-A Conference 8-1, the Lady Golden Demons presented 20th-year head coach Lee Matthews with his 300th career girls tennis coaching victory against 98 losses.
The Lady Demons advanced into Wednesday’s semifinal at 4 p.m. on the Barton College courts against Rocky Mount’s Faith Christian of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s 2-A Coastal Conference. The Lady Patriots turned back Tarboro of the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference by an 8-1 margin.
The other semifinal at 4 p.m. Wednesday sends perennial 2-A power Greene Central of the Eastern Carolina Conference against Greenfield of the NCISAA’s 1-A/2-A Coastal Plains Independents Conference. Greene Central thumped two-time champion Hunt 9-0, while Greenfield held off by a 5-4 margin Charles B. Aycock, a 3-A member of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference.
In consolation matches at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Barton, Corinth Holders opposes Tarboro, and Hunt faces CBA.
“We were pretty well certain we were going to get (win No. 300) today,” Matthews noted, “and to get it really easily is nice. Doubles will be a work in progress for several matches as we get a look at new combinations.”
Continued Matthews: “I’m excited (about 300 wins). It’s a great milestone that was accomplished basically in 19 seasons.
“It’s a testament to the quality of players we’ve had to come through Fike.”
Matthews’ first 19 years include a state championship in 2008, four appearances in East Region finals and 11 conference championships, including 3-A Big East Conference crowns in 2016 and 2017.
Against Corinth Holders, Fike swept the singles, with junior Logan Adkins, junior Avery Rose Brown, senior Anna Blair Thomas, sophomore Sophia Meszaras, junior Mia Hamblin and sophomore Cappa Hill prevailing in straight sets. Neither Adkins nor Brown lost a game.
Only an 8-6 loss for the No. 2 doubles team of Brown-Hamblin denied the Lady Demons a shutout.
Adkins, Brown and Thomas were all lineup mainstays last season, while Meszaras saw limited action. Hamblin and Hill debutED as top-six performers.
GREENFIELD NIPS CBA
Greenfield, in the second season of coach Robin Morrison, forged a 4-2 singles lead. However, the Lady Golden Falcons rallied to a 4-4 standoff with wins from the No. 1 doubles team of Karlyn Ray-Laney Reeves and the No. 2 pair of Abbie Shackleford-Grace Mooring before the Lady Knights clinched with an 8-2 triumph from the No. 3 doubles team of junior Jade Pridgen-eighth-grader Anna Grace Beddingfield.
Victorious in singles were senior Avery Vester at No. 1, Pridgen at No. 3, eighth-grader Louisa Lee at No. 5 and sophomore Alex Gardner at No. 6.
“I thought the girls hit the ball well, especially considering we’ve had only 1 1/2 weeks of practice.” Morrison commented. “And we have worked only on singles.
“The girls played with confidence and great consistency and pulled it out. It was well won.”
Morrison and the Lady Knights expect a sterner challenge Wednesday.
“I am proud of the girls and we look forward to Wednesday,” she said.
The Hunt-Greene Central match marked the return of Wayne Hardy as the Lady Warriors’ coach. He last coached the Hunt girls in 2015.
Returning to the Hunt lineup were Cara Moss and Megan Tillotson, while Logan Hinnant saw some action in the top six.
Greene Central’s singles lineup of Madison Holloman at No. 1, McKinsey Harper at No. 2, Logan Wilson at No. 3, Alana Head at No. 4, Kaylee Tucker at No. 5 and Venencia Miller at No. 6 dropped only eight games combined.
Faith Christian was sparked by singles and doubles wins by Anna Thompson, Emily Sondergard, Olivia Pannell and Kyrstyn Jones. Tarboro competed with just five players.
Wilson Cup first-round results
FIKE 8, CORINTH HOLDERS 1
Logan Adkins (F) def. Even Brackman 6-0, 6-0; Avery Rose Brown (F) def. Makensie Sawyer 6-0, 6-0; Anna Blair Thomas (F) def. Angie Jiminez 6-1,6-1; Sophia Meszaras (F) def. Brianna Vanderhaar 6-3, 6-1; Mia Hamblin (F) def. Gianna Pettit 6-2, 6-0; Cappa Hill (F) def. Molly Slemmer 6-0, 6-4.
Adkins-Thomas (F) def. Brackman-Vanderhaar 8-1; Jiminez-Pettit (CH) def. Brown-Hamblin 8-6; Meszaras-Hill (F) def. Sawyer-Slemmer 9-7.
FAITH CHRISTIAN 8, TARBORO 1
Anna Thompson (FC) def. Grace Whitehurst 6-1,6-0; Emily Sondergard (FC) def. Hope Whitehurst 4-6, 6-0, (10-5); Sarah Jeffries Butler (FC) def. Jordan Thursby 6-3, 6-2; Olivia Pannell (FC) def. Ashley Perkins 6-1, 6-1; Kyrstyn Jones (FC) def. Grace Creech 6-2, 6-0; Sarah Nelms (FC) by forfeit.
Thompson-Sondergard (FC) def. Whitehurst-Whitehurst 9-7; Thursby-Perkins (T) def. Butler-Nelms 9-8 (7-5); Pannell-Jones (FC) by forfeit.
GREENE CENTRAL 9, HUNT 0
Madison Holloman (GC) def. Cara Moss 6-0, 6-0; McKinsey Harper (GC) def. Logan Hinnant 6-1, 6-1; Logan Wilson (GC) def. Megan Tillotson 6-1, 6-2; Alana Head (GC) def. Aly Pabst 6-1, 6-1; Kaylee Tucker (GC) def. McKenzie Hinnant 6-1,6-0; Venencia Mills (GC) def. Carmen Bokin 6-0, 6-0.
Harper-Wilson (GC) def. Moss-Pabst 8-1; Holloman-Head (GC) def. Hinnant-Hinnant 8-1; Tucker-Miller (GC) def. Tillotson-Bokin 8-1.
GREENFIELD 5, CHARLES B. AYCOCK 4
Avery Vester (G) def. Karlyn Ray 6-3, 6-0; Abbie Shackleford (CBA) def. Ryann Jennings 6-3, 6-0; Jade Pridgen (G) def. Laney Reeves 1-6, 6-3, (10-6); Grace Mooring (CBA) def. Mae Pridgen 6-3, 6-0; Louisa Lee (G) def. Abby Wallace 6-2, 6-4; Alex Gardner (G) def. Abby Wells 6-0, 6-0.
Ray-Reeves (CBA) def. Vester-Jennings 8-2; Shackleford-Mooring (CBA) def. M. Pridgen-Lee 8-2; J. Pridgen-Anna Grace Beddingfield 8-2. ;