2A tennis: Lebowitz, Nelson-Storey in semis
By Bret Strelow
Salisbury senior Hannah Lebowitz and the doubles team of Erika Nelson-Katelyn Storey have reached the semifinals of the 2A tennis championships in Cary.
Lebowitz’s pursuit of the state title also brings a career milestone into play.
Lebowitz improved her four-year singles record to 99-5 with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Brevard’s Lauren Fuller on Friday afternoon.
Lebowitz (25-1) will face Shelby’s Hillary Lutz this morning in one semifinal, and the winner will take on West Lincoln’s Laura Baker or North Stanly’s Hannah Herlocker in the 2A final.
“(Lebowitz) has got great focus,” Salisbury coach Chris Myers said Friday. “She knows what the ultimate goal is, and she certainly didn’t do anything today to make us think that that’s not going to be something she can accomplish tomorrow. She looked great in both her matches.”
Lebowitz opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Swansboro’s Morgan Sheehan. Salisbury sophomore Joy Loeblein lost 6-3, 6-3 to Edenton Holmes’ Elizabeth Leary in the other half of the bracket.
Nelson-Storey (25-0) will play Greene Central’s Lauren Carraway-Elizabeth McLawhorn in a doubles semifinal this morning, and the winner will square off against either Cuthbertson’s McKenna Karas-Kalli Karas or East Lincoln’s Claire Rinaldo-Anne Rinaldo.
Nelson-Storey earned a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Samantha Taylor-Abby Sugg, the second-seeded team from 2A power Greene Central, in the first round. Nelson, a sophomore, and Storey, a freshman, then picked up a 6-4, 6-0 win against Brevard’s Katie Honer-Hunter Hall.
“I do not know if I’ve seen Katelyn and Erika play as well as they did in that second set,” Myers said. “They dominated in all facets and looked great.”
Loeblein ended up in the toughest quarter of the 16-player singles draw. Leary advanced to face Baker, the West Regional champion, and lost 6-0, 6-2.
Loeblein, Salisbury’s No. 2 seed, will enter next week with a 23-3 singles record. The unbeaten Hornets need to win Tuesday and Thursday to reach Saturday’s dual-team final in Burlington.
“Joy played a great match against a senior who’s qualified in the past and was upset in her regional tournament,” Myers said. “She just came up a little short, but it’s going to do wonders for Joy getting her more experience against top-level competition.”
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