Prep tennis: Salisbury 5, Lexington 4
By Bret Strelow
Salisbury’s match with Lexington included seven tiebreakers, and another one will likely be needed thanks to the Hornets’ dramatic 5-4 road victory Tuesday.
The outcome means Salisbury, Lexington and Ledford all split with each other during the regular season, practically assuring a three-way tie for the CCC tennis title barring a wild upset.
“The match was reflective of the entire year with the three teams going to third-set tiebreakers,” SHS coach Chris Myers said in a telephone interview. “We came up short the first two times, but this is one of our more rewarding victories.”
Only two teams from the conference are guaranteed a playoff berth, although the third team would likely earn a wild-card spot. A drawing to determine playoff seeding, if necessary, would occur Monday.
Salisbury (10-2, 8-2 CCC) fell 5-4 in its first meeting with Lexington, and the Hornets lost a 5-4 heartbreaker at Ledford last week.
Third-set tiebreakers decided five of nine matches held Tuesday, and Salisbury claimed three.
The score was tied heading into doubles, and Lexington’s Charles Chisholm-Alan Heiss won 6-2, 6-4 against Steven Page-Alex Weant at No. 2.
Salisbury’s Austin Flynn-Alan Lebowitz pulled out a 1-6, 6-1, (10-7) victory against Justin Miller-Charlie Jordan at No. 1. Moments later, Seth Gentry-Wes McNeely wrapped up a 6-1, 6-4 win over Filiepe Sanchez-Adam McKerlie when Gentry held serve.Gentry-McNeely had come up short in the decisive match against Ledford six days earlier.
“They responded to adversity,” Myers said. “I had challenged them after the match the other night to take it and learn from it, and they absolutely did. They looked great and played as well as I’ve seen them play.”
Flynn-Lebowitz led 4-1 in the tiebreaker at No. 1, lost six consecutive points, then captured the final six.
There was just as much excitement in singles, where matches at the top three spots in the order came down to third-set tiebreakers. So did the match at No. 6, where Weant prevailed 6-1, 3-6, (10-4) against McKerlie.
Miller won 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), (10-3) against Page at No. 1, and Lebowitz won 3-6, 6-1, (10-3) over Chisholm at No. 3. Flynn came back to collect a 4-6, 6-4, (14-12) victory over Jordan, who held three match points in the tiebreaker.