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Prep tennis: Salisbury, East, North in playoffs

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
Salisbury, East Rowan and North Rowan have qualified for the dual-team tennis playoffs, which begin this afternoon.
Salisbury (18-0) stays home to meet West Lincoln (12-3) in a 2A match, East Rowan (14-2) welcomes Northwest Cabarrus(9-6) to Granite Quarry in 3A and North Rowan (10-6) travels to Gastonia to face Highland Tech (6-6) in 1A.
n Salisbury has reached four consecutive state finals and won two titles in that span. Hannah Lebowitz (92-5 career singles record) anchors a lineup that also features Joy Loeblein, Erika Nelson, Katelyn Storey, Anna Page and Sierra Davis.
West Lincoln finished second in the 1A/2A Southern Piedmont Conference. Laura Baker, who is 18-0 this season, won the Midwest Regional singles title and reached the state semifinals last season.
Only the PAC 6 has seeding priority over the CCC, but that means unbeaten Salisbury could hit the road for a second-round match if Wheatmore (9-4) beats West Stanly (10-1) today. Wheatmore is located 34 miles from Salisbury in Trinity.
Shelby, considered the second-best team in the western half of the state, could play Salisbury in the third round.
n East Rowan tied Statesville for the NPC title and earned the league’s top playoff seed with a 5-2 win in a tiebreaker match. Brittany Honeycutt, Devan Corpening, Megan Bullins, Kayela Wilson, Katie Cassady, Hannah Pressley and Brett Kesler are regular contributors for the Mustangs.Northwest Cabarrus, which finished third in the South Piedmont Conference with a 9-5 league record, is one season removed from being an NPC rival of East’s. Two years ago, the Mustangs capped an unbeaten regular season with a 5-4 victory at Northwest.
If East wins today, it will be at home again for a second-round match against either Southern Carolina co-champion Marvin Ridge, the ninth-ranked team in 3A, or Mount Pleasant.
n North Rowan went 10-4 in YVC play and is making its first postseason appearance since 2005, the year before the Cavaliers’ large group of seniors were freshmen. Corbin Bennett, Diamond Jackson, Kelli Berry, Kayla Morgan, Haley Ridenhour and Caitlin Crawford make up the Cavs’ top six.
Highland Tech finished fifth in the seven-team Southern Piedmont Conference but was the top 1A squad in the split-classification league.
n Davie County (12-4) heads to Charlotte to face unbeaten Myers Park, the top-ranked team in 4A.

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