UP Boys Dominate Conference in Tennis
Winning consecutive league titles is a major and trying task for most prep sports programs. So far this has not been the case for the Union Pines boys' tennis team, as it attempts to win a fourth Cape Fear Valley (CFV) Conference championship in a row.
Monday in Angier, the Vikings bounced back from Friday's loss to county rival Pinecrest with a 9-0 conference win over Harnett Central. With the victory, they improved to 12-0 in the league as they continue to run roughshod over the rest of the conference. It was the Vikes' 10th shutout victory in league play and 11th of the season as the team improved to 12-1 overall.
"We are not surprised with our undefeated record at this point in the season," head coach John Frye says. "Our four seniors (Dillon Rice, Jon Fondrie, Jake Waits and Josh Bryant) are leading the team. They all have quality experience and have played numerous high level matches.
"It is extremely gratifying to see our seniors winning, and should they go on to collect the conference championship, their streak of winning four consecutive titles would be exceeded by only two other runs in school history."
The Union Pines boys won 10 consecutive conference tennis championships from 1986-1995 and tallied five straight titles from 1997 through 2001. Frye feels that the teams' dedication during the offseason has paid big dividends.
"Every player is better this year," he says. "All of them had outstanding workouts in the offseason. We knew coming into the season that we had to elevate our performance if we hoped to compete with the higher ranking 3A teams.
"Our goal is to continue developing skills throughout the course of the year, and our seniors are a big part of this. Most of them have been participants in state playoff matches, and know with some added work, we can play with the best. Every match and practice has been positive for us, with our focus not so much on winning as on execution."
With a deep squad, filled with talent and experience, Frye has been able to get all his players a good amount of time on the courts.
"Our seniors and underclassmen are mixing seamlessly," he says. "We rotate our 10 players in and out of the lineup with little drop-off in the top several positions. This strategy is providing playing time for everyone and as a result we are building depth and keeping players fresh.
"As we now enter the home stretch of the CFV season, everyone has a good feeling about our status as a top-ten 3A team, and we will continue to work toward improving our position. I have a good feeling about this team."
Union Pines enters today's home non-conference match against 4A Scotland as the eight-ranked team in the North Carolina High School Tennis Coaches Association 3A poll. Singles play begins at 4 p.m. in Cameron.
Contact F.W. Manning II at 639-5481 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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