Salisbury tennis 9, Ledford 0
By Bret Strelow
WALLBURG ó The Chicago Cubs, like tennis coach Chris Myers’ Salisbury Hornets, have enough talent to make a run into late October.
That scenario suits Salisbury junior Hannah Lebowitz, a dedicated Cubs fan, just fine.
“I’m feeling great about the Cubs,” Lebowitz said. “They’ve made my day. I hope we’ll continue our season as well as they keep playing theirs.”
The Cubs have clinched the best record in the National League, and Salisbury staked claim to a sixth straight conference title by winning 9-0 at second-place Ledford on Wednesday afternoon.
Lebowitz, Kirstin Meyerhoeffer, Brooke Johnson, Shea Comadoll, Joy Loeblein and Erika Nelson helped the second-ranked Hornets (15-1, 12-0 CCC) sweep singles against Ledford (11-2, 9-2 CCC). Lebowitz-Meyerhoeffer, Comadoll-Loeblein and Johnson-Nelson cruised to doubles victories.
Salisbury has won 213 of its last 215 conference matches, including 82 straight.
“This year we have some different people in the top six than I’ve had before, and we want each time to just do our best in each match,” Lebowitz said. “I think we’ve done a good job even though we have a different kind of lineup this year.”
Nelson, who is now 16-0 in singles, didn’t drop a game against sixth-seeded Drew Sapp. Johnson followed with a 6-4, 6-0 victory against Kelsey Gilliam at No. 3.
Meyerhoeffer faced Johnna McGinn at No. 2, Comadoll played Grace Lackey at No. 4 and Loeblein squared off against Katie Ramsay at No. 5. All three matches ended with a 6-0, 6-1 result.
Lebowitz improved to 13-0 with a 6-3, 6-0 win against top-seeded Tiffany Vanhpraseuth.
Vanhpraseuth fell 6-4, 6-4 in the first meeting with Lebowitz, who lost a total of six games in the other 11 victories.
“Today I wanted to be more aggressive and make sure I kept my feet moving,” Lebowitz said. “Last time, I knew she was a good player, but I just didn’t go into it thinking about my feet enough. Today, I tried to move my feet and be more aggressive than I usually would be because I know she plays more of a consistent game like I play.”
The Hornets lost only two games in three doubles matches ó the third-seeded tandem of Johnson-Nelson exited with an 8-2 decision. Lebowitz-Meyerhoeffer and Comadoll-Loeblein prevailed 8-0.
Myers has tinkered with his doubles lineup. Johnson and Comadoll, both seniors, played together last year and started this season as partners. Loeblein and Nelson, both freshmen, opened up at the third-seeded spot.
Comadoll joined Lebowitz and Johnson played alongside Meyerhoeffer for a short stretch. Myers then put Loeblein with Comadoll and Nelson with Johnson.
“It was a little weird at first not playing with my doubles partner from last year, but Joy’s a great doubles partner and I really enjoy playing with her,” Comadoll said. “I’ve gotten used to it, and we work really well together. It’s comfortable.”
Comadoll and Loeblein have lost two games in their run to an 8-0 record. Johnson and Nelson are 7-0.
The original pairings nearly pulled off a doubles sweep in Salisbury’s 5-4 loss to Charlotte Catholic earlier this season, but Myers made the changes with an eye toward the future.
The Hornets lost two doubles matches and fell 5-4 against Greene Central in the 2007 state final.
“I think we’ve finally kind of settled on something, not that the combinations we had early in the year were not working,” Myers said. “It’s just something at some point down the line, come October or November, we’re going to have to win two or three doubles matches. We wanted to make sure the combinations we put out there were the best possible combinations.”