2A tennis: Salisbury to welcome breakthrough Blue Devils
By Bret Strelow
Salisbury’s girls tennis program possesses the second-most dual-team playoff victories in state history.
Maiden had never even qualified for the postseason before this year.
The first breakthrough by the Blue Devils (20-1) has taken them all the way to the 2A semifinals, and they will hit the road today to face Salisbury (21-0) at 4 p.m.
The Hornets are attempting to reach the state final for the fifth consecutive year. Maiden has won 18 straight matches since losing 5-4 early in the season against North Lincoln, which dropped a 5-4 decision with Shelby in the first round of the playoffs.
Shelby lost 7-1 to Salisbury in a 2A quarterfinal Tuesday. The Hornets advanced easily despite playing without third-seeded Erika Nelson.
“They kept their composure and realized we have a lot of depth on this team,” Salisbury coach Chris Myers said. “It’s why all the girls, all 16 of them, have been practicing from the end of the regular season.”
The dual-team format was introduced in 1990, and Salisbury has totaled 64 playoff victories since then. Only 4A power Raleigh Broughton (69) has more.
Jon Huffman is in his fourth year as Maiden’s coach, and the Blue Devils won three matches in each of his first two years in charge. They improved to 7-5 in 2008.
“The kids have worked hard to get better,” Huffman said in an email.
Second-seeded junior Kaylyn Key, for instance, started playing tennis only about 15 months ago. Abbey Black (sophomore), Megan Moose (senior), Nicky Lo (senior), Erikia Ramseur (senior) and Cinderella Yang (junior) make up the rest of Maiden’s top six. Black-Key reached the 2A doubles quarterfinals last weekend in Cary.