• 54°

High school tennis: Mustangs want to finish strong

East Rowan tennis

JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST … Nick Shoemaker

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY  — East Rowan’s boys tennis program enjoyed a terrific run not long ago, winning the 2013 North Piedmont Conference championship before changing leagues with realignment and ruling the South Piedmont Conference three straight seasons (2014-16).

East was a middle-of-the-pack squad the past two springs (2017 in the SPC, 2018 in the NPC) and has been less than break-even in 2019, but young coach David Andrews is confident the Mustangs aren’t far from being contenders again. Andrews was part of that string of recent championships as a player, so the 2014 East graduate knows what it takes to be successful.

Andrews also played soccer in his days at East. He serves as the assistant coach with the Mustangs’ boys soccer program.

“It’s my first year of teaching, but I wanted to get super-involved in the school’s athletic programs,” Andrews said. “I know we can get East tennis back where we want it to be.”

Andrews’ college education came at UNC Charlotte. Then he came back home to East. He teaches Math 1, so all his students are freshmen. Freshmen guarantee an exciting day.

Andrews is coaching a tennis team almost as young as his math students. East boasts a large 16-man roster, but 10 of the players are freshmen or sophomores.

East has senior captain Nicholas Shoemaker playing No. 1 singles. He’s been in the program for four years and has progressed from being out of the top six all the way to No. 1.

“He holds things together for us,” Andrews said.

The only other senior in the rotation is William McGee, who missed several weeks with an ankle injury. When everyone is healthy, he plays No. 3 singles.

“I think we’ve had our full team for two matches,” Andrews said. “We’ve had some adversity.”

East still hasn’t lost 9-0 to anyone, even NPC  frontrunner South Iredell. The main reason for that has been sophomore Landon Shuping.

When he’s played as East’s No. 2 singles seed, Shuping hasn’t lost. He’s beaten good players, including South Iredell’s Mick Tobin on a third-set tiebreaker. Shuping has won twice against West Rowan standout Landon Butler — easily the first time and via a third-set tiebreaker in the rematch.

In East’s second meeting with South Iredell, Shoemaker wasn’t available, so Shuping moved up to No. 1. He lost, but the second set was a 6-4 battle.

“Landon has been just about automatic, not only at No. 2 singles, but at No. 1 doubles,” Andrews said. “He’s got a lot of will power and he’s been able to power through some tough matches.”

East’s 4, 5, 6 and 7 players provide a great deal of hope for future improvement. Jaden Collins, Garren Hudson and Drew Roane are sophomores, while Gavin McDaniel is a freshman.

Roane has won three of his four matches at No. 6 singles.

“Collins is only in his second year of tennis, so he’s still learning, but he’s learning quickly,” Andrews said. “Hudson has three or four years of experience and has really good strokes. Roane is a very good athlete and is already a standout for East in soccer. McDaniel came to East from Salisbury Academy and has been a surprise. He takes lessons and I expect him to be one of our top players by his junior year.”

Rain has forced numerous postponements and makeups. East is scheduled to play four matches in three days — 40 percent of its NPC schedule  — including a doubleheader at Statesville. The Mustangs are scheduled to take on rival Carson on Wednesday and last-place North Iredell on Thursday.

“It’s a lot of games, but it’s also a great chance for us to end the regular season on a good note,” Andrews said.

Comments

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service

Lifestyle

New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge

Lifestyle

Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project

Lifestyle

Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday

Business

Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28

Nation/World

‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza

Nation/World

Pipeline operator says “normal operations” have resumed

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program