Vikes Advance in Tennis
The Union Pines boys’ tennis team defeated Ledford High 9-0 in the opening round of the 3-A NCHSAA dual-team state playoffs Tuesday in Cameron.
With the victory the Vikings, ranked fourth in the 3-A state poll, improved to 17-0 on the season and will host a second-round dual match next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the John S. Frye Tennis Facility.
After being eliminated in the opening round of the dual playoffs last year by a margin of 8-1 to Chapel Hill in Cameron, this season it is clear that the Vikings are hungry and hoping to make a strong run in the postseason. It is a feeling that has not escaped Vike coach John Frye.
“The nice thing for us is that once you get into the playoffs and out of conference competition, you are playing somebody who is a worthy playoff opponent,” said Frye. “They are coming down here with the same feeling you have (as a team) so you better be at your best and be ready to play.”
The Vikings were just that, as they took the first set in all six of the singles matches and clinched the match when Union Pines No. 3 player, junior Adam Howard, claimed a 6-2, 6-2 victory to clinch the dual. In fact, Union Pines won all of its singles contests in straight sets and went on to claim the three doubles tilts for a clean sweep.
“Our guys showed me yesterday, in the workout prior to today’s match that they are indeed hungry and are ready to keep right on going,” said Frye
Union Pines’ opponent will be the Chapel Hill Tigers (14-7) the sixth ranked 3-A team in the state and the second-seed from the Carolina Conference. The Vikes bested the Tigers early this season by a 5-4 tally in a contest that came down to the final doubles match — with the duo of junior Matt Lorenz and freshman Dylan Dinkins prevailing by a score of 8-4.
Both Viking players spoke after the first-round win about facing Chapel Hill for a second time this season and the recent rivalry that has gained steam between the two squads.
“I feel great about our chances as we move on in the playoffs,” said Lorenz. “We played a great Chapel Hill team our second match of the season and were able to pull that one out. They are a really good team also, but our team is a very dedicated one that plays with a lot of heart.
“We are also a team who knows how to win and in my opinion we can get the job done next Tuesday against Chapel Hill, and our mindset as a team is one down and four to go.”
Fresh off his first playoff appearance as a Viking, Dinkins was still high from the pure joy that accompanies victory.
“For me this is really exciting,” said Dinkins. “I mean we get here every year but being a freshman it is really fun to finally be a part of it, so it’s just lots of fun. I have been anticipating the chance to be a Viking for quite a while, as I grew up coming to Coach Frye’s summer tennis camps and played at New Century Middle.
“Now once you get out here it is really serious because it’s the state playoffs. So it’s a balance of being totally prepared and focused but loose at the same time. Still this first one was a lot of fun and I think that next week’s rematch with Chapel Hill will be a real exciting event. It was 5-4 last time, so it can turn out either way, but I am confident in us as a team and feel like we can carry on really far in the playoffs.”
Chapel Hill went on the road for a 5-1 round-one victory, dealing Mid-State Conference top-seed Western Alamance (13-1) its first loss of the season in the process.
The Vikings and Tigers are slated to square off on the courts Tuesday at the John. S. Frye Tennis Facility in Cameron at 4:30 p.m.
Union Pines 9 Ledford 0
Singles – John Dangerfield, UP d. Rick Ydrovo, 6-1, 6-0; Kyle Gatti, UP d. Thomas Freeman, 6-2, 6-3; Howard, UP d. Jackson Somers, 6-2, 6-2; Jordan Allen, UP d. Erik McSwain, 6-3, 6-2; Dinkins, UP d. Landon McGinn, 6-2, 6-1; Lorenz, UP d. Matt Ross, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles – Dangerfield-Allen UP d. Ydrovo-Freeman, 9-8 (11-9); Gatti-Howard, UP d. Somers-McGinn, 8-0; Dinkins-Lorenz, UP d. McSwain-Ross, 8-1.
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