High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 13, 2021

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Boys and girls tennis seasons are overlapping in this COVID-19 school year.

Milt Griffith, who coaches both Salisbury teams, guided the unbeaten Hornets girls to a 9-0 win against Central Davidson on Wednesday, their third win in three days.

Next he’ll head to Cary along with Salisbury’s state tournament singles qualifier Will Koontz for his Friday match with Wheatmore’s Jaguar Williams.

Next Monday, the Salisbury girls may face their toughest test of the regular season when they travel to Oak Grove.

“That’s the one we’ve been working for,” Griffith said.

It’s all been a brisk, back-and-forth whirlwind for Griffith, similar to what a number of boys/girls soccer coaches just experienced. Coaching two teams simultaneously is a challenge.

“It’s crazy trying to give ample time to the boys and the girls, but it’s worth it,” Griffith said. “You do it for the kids.”

The Salisbury girls, a perennial powerhouse on the tennis courts, are stout again.

In the fall of 2019, the Hornets reached the regional final in the dual team playoffs before losing to Hendersonville.

Four of the top six from that 15-1 team are still present and accounted for — Lillie Rusher, Meredith Burton, Abby Campion and Kate Burton.

The new faces are freshman Millie Wymbs, who is playing No. 3 singles, and sophomore Abbey Lawson, the No. 6.

“We look like the same team, only we’re actually deeper than that last team was,” Griffith said. “Millie has stepped right in to Margaret Thurman’s spot.”

Rusher, the No. 1 player, has just returned to tennis after completing a stellar soccer season in which she earned all-conference and all-county accolades.

“Lillie is a very athletic girl,” Griffith said. “She’s gotten right back into tennis.”

The teams started about 30 minutes late due to weather on Wednesday, but Salisbury (4-0) breezed in straight sets in all the singles matches.

The winning doubles combinations were Rusher/Lawson, the Burton sisters and Campion/Wymbs.

This will be a short season. The first match for the Salisbury girls was on May 5. Their regular season will end with Senior Night against South Rowan on June 2.

Besides the nine CCC matches, Salisbury will visit Carson (also undefeated) on May 27.

“It’s not easy finding people to play — it’s hard for teams to fit non-conference matches in with such a short season,” Griffith said.

There are no dual team state playoffs this year, but individual singles and doubles champions will be decided at the regional and state levels.