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Prep tennis: Salisbury’s streak ends

It is the end of an era in North Carolina girls tennis. For the first time since George W. Bush was president, a team other than Salisbury will win the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A dual-team championship. The Hornets were defeated 5-2 by Lake Norman Charter on the road Wednesday in the state semifinals, and their run of six straight dual-team titles came to an end.

“When you have a six-year streak of state titles going, it is difficult when that comes to an end, but all good things must come to an end as they say,” head coach Scott Maddox said in an email.

Maria Capito and Julia Honeycutt were the Hornets’ only winners on Wednesday. Playing on Court 4, Capito defeated Sharima Uppiladapie 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 in a three-set marathon. Honeycutt was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Tiffany Oneid 6-0, 6-2 on Court 6.

Lake Norman Charter’s Hannah Archer defeated Kayla Honeycutt, winner of the 2A singles championship, 6-4, 6-3 in the top singles match. Honeycutt was up 4-2 in the first set, but Archer rallied with wins in the next four games to claim the advantage.

Grace Steinman, Kathryn Rusher and Emily Capito lost their singles matches in straight sets. The match was decided when Lake Norman Charter claimed one of three doubles matches.

It was the second time this year Lake Norman Charter was victorious against Salisbury. The Knights topped the Hornets 6-3 when the teams met Sept. 9 at Salisbury in a nonconference match.

“We didn’t play our best tennis [Wednesday], but Lake Norman Charter is a good team, and that had something to do with how we played I’m sure,” Maddox said.

At the start of the playoffs, the Hornets had their eye on a seventh straight state championship. The streak started under previous coach Chris Myers in 2008, and he was at the helm for five titles in a row. Maddox took the reins in 2013.

Before this season, Salisbury advanced to the state dual-team championship match for nine straight years, and it returned home the winner in seven of those. The Hornets defeated Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 5-1 in 2006 for the first 2A dual-team title in program history, and the streak started with another 5-1 win over Cardinal Gibbons in 2008. In the five years since that 2008 championship, the Hornets defeated Greene Central twice and collected wins over Tarboro, Cedar Ridge and the N.C. School of the Science and Math out of Durham.

The Hornets went into this postseason with their eyes on a seventh straight state title.

“I think the team has a lot to be proud of, making the Western finals should never be looked at as a disappointment,” Maddox said. “We bring back the entire team next year and have some good players coming so hopefully the Hornets will return to the Western finals, get over that hump and start a new streak.”

Adam Houston: 704-797-4287; twitter.com/
AdamRHouston

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