Vikings Court Early Success in Tennis
Union Pines opened its boys' tennis season this week with three convincing wins.
Monday, the Vikes pinned an 8-1 loss on Pine Forest in Fayetteville. Tuesday, the Vikings returned home and handed Jordan-Matthews an 8-1 loss.
Finally, the Vikes jumped into Cape Fear Valley Conference play with a 9-0 win over visiting Overhills.
With the win over Overhills, Union Pines picked up where it left off last year when it rolled to a conference championship with a perfect 14-0 mark. For the year, the Vikes finished 22-2 and went all the way to the state 3-A quarterfinals in team competition.
All of that team returns this season with three freshmen joining them in the form of Nolan Evans, Jay O'Connor and Cannon Walden. The freshmen all entered this season coming off conference title wins while playing at New Century Middle School, and Viking coach John Frye said the three are ready to play on the high school level.
All three have picked up wins during the opening matches of this season.
The veterans returning to the fray this season include all-conference performers Walker Buchan, Sam Stalls, Stampley Walden and Gary Garner. Buchan, Stalls and Walden are seniors, while Garner is a junior.
Buchan and Stalls each won over 40 marches last year, and with several wins this season have improved their career marks at the school. Stalls has won 108 matches to reach 23rd on the school's career-win list, while Buchan has won 103 matches and is ranked 26th on the school's win list.
As a doubles team, Buchan and Stalls won the conference championship and advanced to the regional semifinals and state quarterfinals last season.
Stampley Walden, in his first year of competition last year, was conference singles runner-up with a record of 22-6 in singles. He went 9-3 in doubles. This season he has collected four wins, with two of them coming in singles play and two in doubles.
John Hipp is the team's fourth senior member. He went 16-4 in singles last year and 9-4 in doubles. He has picked up a win in singles this season and one in doubles.
Garner went 17-5 in singles and 9-3 in doubles last season. This year, he has teamed with Hipp to win a doubles match and added another win in singles.
Sophomores Will Fondrie and Dillon Rice teamed in doubles last year to reach the conference tournament championship match before falling to teammates Buchan and Stalls. As a doubles team, the two went 18-5 last year. They have won twice this season in doubles, and both have added two singles wins to their resumes.
Jake Waits and Josh Bryant are another pair of sophomores that came on strong for the Vikings last season. As a doubles team they were conference semifinalists and advanced to the quarterfinals in regional play.
After the blazing 3-0 start to the season, the Vikings continue conference play Monday when Southern Lee comes to Vikingville for a match.
The team plays its first conference road match when it travels to Gray's Creek on Wednesday.
Union Pines 9, Overhills 0
Singles -- Walker Buchan (UP) defeated Chris Lathan 8-0; Sam Stalls (UP) def. Thomas Griswald 8-0; Will Fondrie (UP) def. Kash Lathan 8-2; Gary Garner (UP) def. Mario Capers 8-2; Jake Waits (UP) def. Eddie Johnson 8-1; Jay O'Connor (UP) def. Brandon Armwood 8-0.
Doubles -- Buchan-Stalls (UP) def. C. Lathan-Griswald 8-1; Dillon Rice-Stampley Walden (UP) def. K. Lathan-Capers 8-6; Waits-Cannon Walden (UP) def. Terry Marshall-Carlos Womack 8-1.
Union Pines 8, Jordan-Matthews 1
Singles -- Dylan Gaines (JM) def. Walker Buchan 2-6, 6-3, (10-7); Sam Stalls (UP) def. David Elder 6-3, 7-5; Dillon Rice (UP) def. Chris Terry 6-0, 6-2; Will Fondrie (UP) def. Isaac Ellington 6-0, 6-0; Stampley Walden (UP) def. Jordan Stone 7-5, 6-3; Jake Waits (UP) def. Cody Huebenthal 6-0, 6-4.
Doubles -- Buchan-Stalls (UP) def. Elder-Ellington 8-3; Rice-Fondrie (UP) def. Gaines-Terry 8-5; Gary Garner-John Hipp (UP) def. Stone-Huebenthal 8-6.
Union Pines 8, Pine Forest 1
Singles -- Grant Peaden (PF) def. Walker Buchan 0-6, 7-5 (7-6); Sam Stalls (UP) def. Nelson Pate 6-0, 6-0; Dillon Rice (UP) def. Jake Strickland 6-0, 6-0; Stampley Walden (UP) def. Brian Kiefer 6-0, 6-0; Jay O'Connor (UP) def. Andrew Kim 6-0, 6-1; John Hipp (UP) def. Brandon Johnson 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles -- Rice-Will Fondrie (UP) def. Peaden-Pate 8-1; S. Walden-Jake Waits (UP) def. Strickland-Kiefer 8-0; Nolan Evans-Cannon Walden (UP) def. Kim-Johnson 8-0.
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