Pam Pack can't get past Vikings|Washington to honor its seniors tonight

Published 9:08 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
In a fight for second place in the Coastal Conference, the Washington netters could not stand up to its nemesis D.H. Conley as the Vikings edged past the Pam Pack 6-3 on Tuesday.
Heading into the match, Washington (10-3) was looking to avenge an earlier season loss to D.H. Conley and lock down the coveted second place spot in the conference, however, for the second time this season Vikings’ coach, and Washington alumni, Josh Lilley had his alma matter’s number.
In the Coastal Conference only the top two teams are guaranteed to advance to the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs. With West Carteret sitting on top with only one loss, the fight for the No. 2 spot fell between the Vikings (10-2) and the Pam Pack.
D.H. Conley will play West Carteret today, but even if it loses the Vikings still hold the tiebreaker with a 2-0 head-to-head record against Washington.
“Today’s match was important because the top of our conference is so tight,” Washington coach Michelle Elks said. “We really needed a win today to put us in the running for dual team play. … There is a chance though that we could get a wild card.”
Helping its bid for a wild card spot is the fact that West Carteret’s lone loss came at the hands of Washington, the defending Coastal Conference champions.
Elks said her team’s lack of passion played a big role in the loss.
“I don’t think we came out serious today,” Elks said. “We didn’t have intensity today. I struggled throughout all the singles matches trying to keep the girls focused for the entire match.”
Reining Coastal Conference Player of the Year Beth Batchelor won her match 6-0, 6-1 over Alicia Wall, however, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds Samara Romero (0-6, 1-6) and Kimberlyn Jones (2-6, 0-6), respectively, each lost their singles matches.
Washington’s No. 4 seed freshman Kiara Smith had a big day as she was the only player for the Pack to be involved in two wins on Tuesday. Smith topped Kate Hanley in singles play, then teamed up with Jones to beat Wall and Hanley 9-8 (9-7) in a marathon doubles match.
The Pack’s Lanie Smith, the No. 5 seed could not pull out a victory, while Washington’s No. 6 seed Paige Ingalls also fell in singles play.
After the match, Elks applauded the effort of both Batchelor and Smith.
“Beth was focused her entire match. Beth was playing a very good player with a beautiful stroke but she stayed focused and was able to win,” Elks said. “Kiara was not focused in her first set but she was able to regain her focus and come back and win the tiebreaker which is a huge win.”
The Pack headed into doubles play needing to win all three of its matches but could not pull off the sweep.
Batchelor and Romero fell 8-2, while Paige and Ingalls rallied from a 5-0 deficit but lost the match 8-6.
The loss gives Washington’s trio of seniors, Batchelor, Romero and Emily Hodges one last chance to win on their home court as the Pack take on Havelock today on Senior Night.
“It’s are last home match and while I’m excited to for it to come, I’ll be sad to see it go,” Batchelor said. Romero, who has been on the team for three years, said, “It’s our last home game and I would really like for us to go out with a win.”
Hodges, who has seen limited action this year for the Pack said, “I’m not sure if I am going to play, but I’m ready to leave my mark on the court for the last time.”