Patriots Edge Vikings in Tennis 5-4
Before Monday's girls' tennis match between Pinecrest and Union Pines, Viking coach and historian John Frye revealed it was the first meeting between the two teams since 2000.
By the time the action came to an end about three hours later at the John Frye Tennis Facility, the teams had made a strong case for making the match an annual event.
The Patriots and Vikings split the six singles matches with two of them decided by a tiebreaker. Ally Parziale and Mariotti Meyers, and Chrissy Nurnberg and Caroline Decker won the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches to clinch a 5-4 victory for the Patriots.
The final doubles match was fittingly decided by another tiebreaker, with Virginia Priest and Shannon Simpson of the Vikings prevailing over Allyson Grine and Gabby Adler.
Pinecrest improved to 4-1 while the previously undefeated Vikings dropped to 8-1.
"It had kind of a state playoff atmosphere to it," Frye said afterward. "I was impressed with the Pinecrest kids as well as our own on all six courts. It's been great hitting this afternoon."
The heaviest hitting on the day was by sophomore Melissa Tally of the Vikings as she jumped out to an early 4-0 lead over Parziale in the No. 1 singles match. In a dramatic reversal, the Patriot junior came back to gain a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
"I just kind of told myself I needed to get the ball over the net one more time than she did," Parziale said. "Once you get up by a lot, you can kind of think you have the match in the bag, but it didn't happen for her."
The loss was the first of the season for Tally.
"Ally is a good athlete," she said. "She started moving her feet and got to more balls. She just got ahead and got me down."
In the No. 3 singles, Madi Kramer of the Vikings defeated Chrissy Nurnberg in the first set 6-4, only to drop the second 6-0. That one turned out better for the Vikings. Tied at 8-8 in the tiebreaker, Kramer took the next two points, the final one with an ace, to gain the win.
"I don't really know what happened," Kramer said of the second set slide. "It just seemed like in the blink of an eye I was down 3-0 and it's hard for me to come back when I'm down that bad. I kind of brought back all that energy I saved up and pulled through it."
Other singles winners were Meyers and Adler for the Patriots (in a tiebreaker) and Laura Cameron and Priest for the Vikings.
Parziale and Meyers took a commanding 6-1 lead on the way to an 8-4 victory in the No. 1 doubles. Nurnberg and Caroline Decker defeated Brittany Jones and Cameron 8-2 in the No. 2 to clinch the Pinecrest victory.
Parziale and Meyers, a senior, were playing doubles together for the first time. They played patiently against the much more aggressive Viking pair.
"Ally just taught me how to play tennis," Meyers joked. "She just kept telling me to hit it over the net."
When the two schools met on Sept. 19, 2000 at Union Pines, the Patriots were 8-1 winners. Hannah Priest was the lone winner for the Vikings, defeating Anna Pottle 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles. The Patriots improved to 11-0 while the Vikings dropped to 10-1. Frye was the Viking coach and Cameron Fairley coached the Patriots.
As now, both teams welcomed the opportunity to test themselves against good competition. Current Patriot coach Gail Deese also appreciated the atmosphere created by the large turnout of supporters for the two teams.
"It makes you better when you get to play consistent players back and forth," Deese said. "It's great to play a team that gives you that competition mentally."
Pinecrest - 5
Union Pines - 4
Singles - Parziale (P) def. Tally 6-4, 6-2; Meyers (P) def. Jones 6-3, 7-5; Kramer (U) def. Nurnberg 6-4, 0-6 (10-8); Cameron (U) def. Decker 6-1, 6-4; Priest (U) def. Grine 6-2, 6-1; Adler (P) def. Simpson 6-4, 2-6 (10-7).
Doubles - Parziale-Meyers (P) def. Tally-Kramer 8-4; Nurnberg-Decker (PC) def. Jones-Cameron 8-2; Priest-Simpson (U) def. Grine-Adler 8-8 (7-2).
Exhibition matches - Singles - Celine Bullock (UP) def. Casie Jingle 8-6; Doubles - Maddie Walden and Elena D'Argenio (UP) def. Emlyn Satterwhite and Kailey Osterman 8-5; Sarah Sizer and Emily Gower (P) def. Gabrielle Roback and Michelle Shireman 8-5.
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