Prep Tennis: Salisbury wins tight battle with West Davidson
SALISBURY — Salisbury High tennis has dominated the Central Carolina Conference for most of the past decade but the gap is closing — almost.
The Hornets battled back from a 4-2 deficit after singles Wednesday afternoon, swept all three doubles and edged West Davidson 5-4 in a battle for first place in the CCC.
“It was straight heart,” Hornet coach Chris Stroupe said afterwards. “They played with their hearts today and they battled 100 percent. I don’t know if I can take much more of that.”
Salisbury, which starts three freshmen in their top six, had defeated West Davidson by the same 5-4 score two weeks ago. But after singles this time, it looked like the Hornets’ CCC winning streak covering almost four years was in serious jeopardy. They needed all three doubles or the streak was over.
Brock Overcash and freshman David Derrick teamed up at No. 1 to down Brett Moore and Jaime Lopez 6-2, 6-4. At No. 2 doubles, Clint Comadoll and Chris Derrick knocked off Alex Cheves and Grayson Taylor 6-1, 7-5 to knot the match at 4.
The final outcome came down to the No. 3 doubles, featuring freshmen Spencer Storey and Hunter Carlton for Salisbury against West Davidson’s Nathan Little and Cody Middleton. West won the first set 6-4 but the Hornets battled back to win 6-3 and set up a super tiebreaker for the match.
Keyed by a some well-placed returns from Storey, Salisbury won five straight points to claim the win 10-5.
With the victory, Salisbury stays unbeaten in the CCC at 6-0, 8-2 overall, while West Davidson fall to 4-2, 9-3.
“We couldn’t ask for anything more than a 4-2 lead going into doubles, “ said Green Dragon coach Thompson Skeen. “But you have to give Salisbury credit because they played great doubles. Our guys knew what was at stake and played their hardest but Salisbury really picked it up in doubles.”
It was a frustrating outcome for the Green Dragons, who have missed twice this season against the Hornets. In the past decade, Salisbury has won five conference titles, including the last three in a row, and have shared two other league crowns. They play with a target on their back as a result.
“We have been historically good,” stated Brock Overcash, the only senior in the line-up. “We lost a couple of good players so people are really coming for us now.”
Overcash played at No. 1 singles and dropped a 6-2, 7-5 decision to the Green Dragons own freshman star Moore. Comadoll rolled to a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles over Lopez. West then won at No. 3 behind Cheves, 6-1, 6-4 over Chris Derrick while Storey claimed the No. 5 singles over Taylor 6-4, 6-1.
The big singles advantage for West can be credited to a pair of tie-breaker rallies at No. 4 and No. 6 singles. Little was down 7-3 but came back to top David Derrick 10-8. Middleton then reeled off five straight points to down Salisbury’s Carlton at No. 6 by a 10-6 score.
“We do play with a target on our back because of the last three years and because we are Salisbury,” Stroupe stated. “It is always tough but we have responded so far.”
NOTE: The Hornets now take a week off for spring break with another showdown looming against Central Davidson when they return.