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Salisbury tennis beats Lexington

By Bret Strelow
Salisbury Post
Joe Goodman and Benton Whitaker won third-set tiebreakers to help Salisbury complete singles with a lead.
Tyler Heilig and Carl Ritchie, two more seniors, made sure the Hornets exited the match with a win.
Salisbury’s boys tennis team clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory against first-place Lexington, which handed the Hornets their first loss of the season last Tuesday.
They fell to Ledford one day later and needed a win yesterday to avoid possibly finishing in a second-place tie with the Panthers. The CCC is guaranteed two postseason berths, and the western portion of the 2A bracket has room for two wild-card entries.
“For us to come out here with the cards kind of stacked against us ó conference was essentially clinched (for Lexington) ó I’m real proud of the guys,” Salisbury coach Chris Myers said. “It was great to have every senior out there ó Carl, Tyler, Joe and Benton ó play a role in this victory.”
The Hornets (12-2, 8-2 CCC) closed their conference slate with a satisfying win against a Lexington team that beat them 5-4 last week.
The schools split six singles matches that afternoon, and Salisbury took a 4-2 lead into doubles Tuesday. Heilig-Ritchie won 6-4, 7-5 against the third-seeded tandem of Grayson Bates-Vernard Williams in the first completed doubles match, and Salisbury’s Austin Flynn-Steven Page earned a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), (11-9) victory against Hunter Davis-Alan Heiss.
“It wasn’t for the conference championship, but I couldn’t be more excited,” Myers said. “The kids are excited, especially with the adversity we had last week losing a tight match to them and then coming back and playing a little flat in losing to a prepared and good Ledford team.”
Page’s 6-1, 6-2 victory against Davis at No. 3 pushed Salisbury in front 3-2, and Whitaker prevented the Yellow Jackets (10-3, 8-1 CCC) from breaking even before the start of doubles. He won 5-7, 6-4, (11-9) against Heiss at No. 4.”I was hurting, man,” Whitaker said. “At one of the changeovers during the second set, Coach told me the other scores, and I said, ‘All right, I got it.’ I just stuck with that.”
Whitaker established a 7-3 lead in the supertiebreaker, and Heiss claimed the next five points. Whitaker tied the score at 8-all with an overhead winner, but Heiss earned a match point by pulling ahead 9-8. Whitaker won the next three points.
“A little bit of luck and persistence,” Whitaker said.
Lexington, which competed without injured No. 5 seed Charles Chisholm, jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to wins from Charlie Jordan (6-1, 6-1 over Flynn at No. 2) and Williams (6-4, 6-1 over Ritchie at No. 6).Heilig answered with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Bates at No. 5, and Goodman prevailed 5-7, 6-1, (10-4) against Justin Miller at No. 1.
Goodman also dropped the first set before winning a third-set tiebreaker in the first meeting with Miller.
“Not just with Justin, but it’s been like that every match,” Goodman said. “Coach gets mad at me for starting off late and having to come back to win. It’s something I have to work on.”
Goodman-Whitaker lost 6-3, 7-5 to Miller-Jordan at No. 1 doubles, but the other seniors in Salisbury’s lineup already had collaborated for a win that assured the Hornets of a split with their chief rival.
n
NOTE: Results are in Scoreboard.n
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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