Vike Netters Ready For Run At Another Conference Crown
The Viking boys' tennis team is looking for its third straight Cape Fear Valley championship, but it won't be easy.
The Vikes begin that quest today when they open the season with a match against Southern Lee at 4 p.m. in Cameron.
If the Vikes hope to three-peat they will have some big tennis shoes to fill.
Graduation claimed four key players from last year's squad, which finished 19-3 overall and 14-0 in conference.
Walker Buchan and Sam Stalls were two 100-match winners for the Vikings, as well as All-conference performers. Stampley Walden was the third Union Pines senior to earn All-conference honors in 2008 and was the CFV singles runner-up. Also gone from this year's team will be John Hipp, who tallied 79 wins in what Viking head coach John Frye deemed a "stellar four-year career."
"The bad news is that we did lose four strong players," Frye said, "but not all the news is bad. In singles the team has both depth and experience, but will face a challenging non-conference schedule and will need to improve its doubles play if it is to be competitive.
If our players can avoid illness as well as injury and elevate their doubles skills, the team should be again competing for the conference championship and regional and state honors."
Returning to headline this year's squad are Vikings Dillon Rice and Will Fondrie. Each player achieved all-conference status last year, as the pair won the conference doubles championship and qualified for regional play.
Junior classmates Jake Waits and Josh Bryant, both of whom are regional-doubles qualifiers from last season, will join Rice and Fondrie in the Vikings' top four.
Union Pines lone senior is Gary Garner, who has accrued 69 wins in three seasons. This year he will be looking to join the school's "Century Club" of 100 match winners.
Sophomores Nolan Evans, Cannon Walden and Jay O'Connor will be competing for added playing time this season and will be joined by freshmen Ty White, Jacob Daniel, Jon Fondrie and Jay Stalls, all of whom have distinguished middle school credentials.
"This year's team will likely be mixed and sorted in both singles and doubles in the early going," Frye concluded, "with an eye to determining its strength."
Contact F.W. Manning II at 639-5481 or by email at email@example.com
Schedule: March 2 - Overhills; 3 - at Asheboro; 4 - Southern Lee; 9 - at Gray's Creek; 12 - Harnett Central; 16 - at Triton; 18 - South Johnston; 23 - at Western Harnett; 25 - at Overhills 26 - Asheboro; 30 - at Southern Lee; April 1 - Gray's Creek; 3 - Pinecrest; 6 - at Harnett Central; 7 - Triton; 8 - Scotland County; 20 - at South Johnston; 21 - Western Harnett. 28-29 - Conference tournament at Southern Lee; May 5 - Dual Tennis State Playoffs; 8-9 - Individual Regional at Union Pines; 15-16 - Individual State in Burlington; 19, 21 & 23 - Dual State playoffs..
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