East Rowan’s boys tennis team advanced to the third round of the state playoffs in a 5-3 win at West Henderson Wednesday.
The Mustangs started the match Tuesday after having to dry off a damp court. The singles matches didn’t escape the first set before rain set in again and it was postponed a day.
Another three-hour drive to Hendersonville would turn out to be worth it. The Mustangs finished what they started and resumed their Cinderella season.
“At No. 2 and 3 we fought for those wins very hard,” said East first-year coach Ainsley Kovanda. “The boys were very motivated and stayed positive.”
The Mustangs won a bout that included three tiebreakers in singles play. Chance Brown and Justin Allen won third sets to give East four of the six singles matches.
East (14-3) will play the winner of Hickory and Weddington Monday. The Mustangs finished the regular season North Piedmont Conference champions and beat Patton in the first round.
“Coming into this in my first year coaching I didn’t know what to expect,” Kovanda said. “These guys have come out and been competitors. We’ve had fun on and off the court.”
West won the No. 1 match with Adam Greer topping Ike Emerson 6-3, 6-1. The Mustangs established control in the next 2-3 matches.
At No. 2, Allen topped West’s Cody Martin 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 to improve to 12-3 on the year. Brown (15-2) beat Matt Lugo 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.
“Chance has a unique style and he met a guy today that figured him out,” Kovanda said. “It was the first time he had to fight for a win.”
West’s Landon Rimbault defeated East’s Jeremy Fife 6-3, 6-7, 7-4 at No. 4. The Mustangs won the final two singles matches with Evan Rogers (6-2, 7-5) and Cameron Thomas (6-1, 6-4) picking up crucial wins.
Thomas and Emerson topped Martin/Lugo 8-4 to put East up 5-2 and end the match. The other doubles match was completed with Greer/Rimbault winning 8-3.
“It was definitely worth turning around and doing that six hours on the bus again,” Kovanda said. “We had everything going for us.”
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