Viking Boys Top Patriots in Cross-County Tennis
It was closer than the score indicated in Monday’s intra-county boys’ tennis showdown at Union Pines.
The Vikings pulled out the 7-2 win over the visiting Pinecrest Patriots in the nonconference clash, but the real winners were the players that got to ply their games in front of an appreciative crowd.
Veteran Viking coach John Frye, who was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame on Saturday, has seen a few of the battles between the county rivals in his six decades at the school. Although the score indicated that Union Pines had a relatively easy time of it, Frye said that was far from the truth.
“The score doesn’t always indicate the quality of the tennis,” he said Tuesday by phone. “There was quality on display on those six courts yesterday. There were long rallies, nicely made shots and a lot of sharp hitting. It was good competition.”
The battle for county bragging rights not only brings out the best of the competitors, it also brings out a crowd of tennis lovers, fans that were treated to two-and-a-half hours of solid tennis.
“There was a throng out there, quite the crowd,” said Frye. “The fans were treated to a high level of play.”
The lone winner for Pinecrest was Grey Hamilton, who defeated John Dangerfield 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles before teaming with Zach Smith to claim an 8-4 win over Dangerfield and Jordan Allen at No. 1 doubles.
“Hamilton hit some overheads that were just fantastic,” said Frye. “He was hitting angled shots into the corner that just couldn’t be returned. John (Dangerfield) hung in there, though. He took an early 2-1 lead in the first set, but he was struggling with his serve. Even still, he made the match competitive, losing 6-4 in the second set.
“Grey is one of the best players in the state in 4-A. He’ll be right in there competing for a state title.”
Union Pines ran its record to a perfect 15-0 with the win. Adam Howard, playing at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles, picked up two wins for the Vikes, and now has 86 career wins at the school.
“It is really a great experience for the teams,” Frye said. “It’s always great for both schools. Pinecrest coach (Gail) Deese and I both agree that the competition is a plus for both schools.”
Union Pines was scheduled to play another nonconference match Tuesday when it traveled to Northwood.
Union Pines 7 Pinecrest 2
Singles — Grey Hamilton (P) defeated John Dangerfield 6-2, 6-4; Kyle Gatti (UP) def. Will Grine 6-0, 6-1; Adam Howard (UP) def. Don Campbell 6-1, 6-1; Jordan Allen (UP) def. Zach Smith 6-2, 6-0; Dylan Dinkins (UP) def. Josh Barnes 6-0, 6-1; Matt Lorenz (UP) def. Marc Schaefer 6-1, 6-3.
Doubles — Hamilton-Smith (P) def. Dangerfield-Allen 8-4; Gatti-Howard (UP) def. Campbell-Barnes 8-2; Dinkins-Lorenz (UP) def. Schaefer-Will Morris 8-2.
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