Pack edges past VikesPublished 7:40pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It was a winner-take-all scenario for the Washington tennis team on Tuesday as it battled D.H. Conley for the coveted second place position in the Coastal Conference, one that would allow the winner to clinch a spot in the state’s dual team tournament.
The two teams split their regular season matchups and after six singles contests on Tuesday the Pam Pack and the Vikings entered doubles play deadlocked at 3-3 thanks to singles victories by Connor Wilkins, Luke Harris and Holt McKeithan. It was there that Washington dug deep with some inspiring play and pulled out two of the three remaining matches to lockup a 5-4 victory and a spot in the postseason.
Washington’s top doubles team of Wilkins and Harris cruised to an 8-2 victory to put the Pack on the cusp of clinching and the tandem of Luke Ainsworth and McKeithan sealed it in style by throttling their opponents 8-0.
“I think it’s a really good experience that they get to go on to dual team and I’m really glad that they have that opportunity,” said Washington’s first-year coach Miranda Whitney. “When they go on to dual team they get to play other teams from other parts of the state and it’s a good opportunity for them to play some really good competition.”
The win not only enabled the Pam Pack (12-3 Coastal Conference) to advance to the postseason, but also allowed Washington seniors Harris and John Tate to taste victory in their final home match of their high school tennis careers.
The two seniors had varied individual success on Tuesday as Harris won both his singles and doubles matchups, while Tate fell in both his singles and doubles matches, but in the end the team victory made for a joyous Senior Night.
“I didn’t like losing in singles and doubles,” Tate said. “But, I’m glad our team won. That was pretty good.”
For Harris, it was a hard fought Senior Night that ended on a high note as he rallied to top Casey Lohner 6-6, 1-6, (10-4) before joining forces with Wilkins to comfortably beat Lohner and John Hodges 8-2.
“Today went great. It could have been better if I won in two sets but (Lohner) gave me a run for my money,” Harris said.
Though the day belonged to the seniors, someone forget to tell the freshman McKeithan as he won a clutch singles match over Hodges 7-5, 6-2 and then went on to team up with Ainsworth to dismantle Stokes Lassiter and Jackson Ward 8-0 in a crucial doubles matchup.
“It’s kind of odd since it’s Senior Night but Holt was actually our big player today,” Whitney said. “He was down in the first set and made an epic comeback to win it 7-5 and then won his second set. Him and Luke played the best doubles match I’ve ever seen them play together. They both made a great effort. It was a great team effort.”