Tigers Topple Vikings in Tennis Playoffs
This time the outcome was a little bit different for the Union Pines boys’ tennis team.
Riding a 17-0 record that included a 5-4 defeat of Chapel Hill earlier this season, the Vikes squared off against the Tigers one more time Tuesday in the second round of the state 3-A dual team tennis playoffs at the John S. Frye Tennis Facility in Cameron.
Unfortunately for the homestanding Vikings, Chapel Hill was able to record a 6-3 win to advance to the third round of state competition. Chapel Hill improved to 15-7 after the win.
“They were better than when we faced them before,” Union Pines coach John Frye said by phone Thursday. “They really improved over the course of the season. They were really sharp.
‘We were good, too. We competed well; they were just a little bit better on the big points.”
The Vikings trailed 4-1 early in the contest, but Union Pines’ No. 1 player, John Dangerfield, claimed a straight-set victory in the final singles match on the court to force the competition into doubles action.
“The (Chapel Hill) lineup changed quite a lot from the first time we played them,” said Frye. “They had a player back from injury, and the lineup had moved around a bit. Their No. 3 singles was the only player in the same position as when we faced them earlier.”
In only his second dual playoff at Union Pines, Dylan Dinkins was the other singles winner. The freshman took his tilt in straight sets at 7-5, 6-3 over Andy Gillespie to put the first point on the board for the Vikings, who trailed 4-1 when his match ended.
“Dylan really came on as the season progressed,” said Frye. “He moved to a different level. He has a lot of shots, and he knows how to set up points.”
Senior Kyle Gatti closed out his Union Pines career with a doubles victory elevating his record to 68-11.
“He is a great kid,” Frye said. “He is a team leader, a take-charge kind of guy. He is a planner and organizer. He did a lot in the offseason in getting the players to work on their games. He’s been responsible for a lot of the success of this team.”
The Vikings, led by 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference MVP Dangerfield, had six players named to the all-conference team. Joining conference singles champion Dangerfield were Gatti and Adam Howard, conference doubles champions; Dinkins and Matt Lorenz, conference doubles runners-up; and singles runner-up Jordan Allen.
With Gatti the only one of the top-six players not returning next season, Frye feels good about another good run next season.
“With five of the top six returning, the kids are on the way up,” Frye said. “We’re already talking about next season and how far we can go. We’ve also got a solid incoming class, with several players that might be able to contribute.”
Dangerfield continues individual play in the 3-A individual state championships at the Burlington Tennis Center today at 9 a.m., in Burlington. Kyle Johnson of Charlotte Catholic will be seeking a record fourth consecutive singles title in the 3-A classification. No boys’ player in NCHSAA history has won four singles championships, so Frye knows that Dangerfield is in a tough draw.
“With Johnson there, he’s (Dangerfield) is not going to be favored,” Frye said. “But he is only a junior. He has his sights set on growing, improving, and he does that every day.”
Chapel Hill 6 Union Pines 3
Singles – Dangerfield, UP d. Aaron Weber, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); Chris Chang, CH d. Gatti, 6-0, 6-0; Bryan Zhang, CH d. Howard, 6-0, 6-1; Ethan Westdorp, CH d. Allen, 6-3, 6-1; Dinkins, UP d. Andy Gillespie, 7-5, 6-3; Garcian D’Cruz, CH d. Lorenz, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles – Weber-Chang, CH d. Dangerfield-Allen, 10-4; Gatti-Howard, UP d. Zhang-Gillespie, 10-7; Westdorp-Alex Walker, CH d. Dinkins-Lorenz, 10-8.
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