Falcons edge past Pack
WINTERVILLE — With first place in the Coastal Conference on the line the young Washington tennis team took South Central to the brink before dropping its match 5-4 on Wednesday.
The Pam Pack (7-2, 7-2) rode a seven game winning streak into its matchup with the first place Falcons (8-1, 8-0) but managed to win only two singles matches, putting Washington down 4-2 heading into doubles play where it needed to pull off a sweep to pull out a victory.
The Pam Pack came close, winning two of its three doubles contests but in the end it could not catch up to South Central as it fell to Falcons for the second time this season.
“I felt like we were the top two teams in the conference coming into today,” Washington coach Daniel Manzer said. “They might have got us but I felt like it was pretty tight. We made them sweat a little bit under the collar. When we get into conference play and the singles tournament at the end of April I think you will see that our boys will do pretty well.”
Somebody who has been doing pretty well for the Pack so far this season is No. 1 seed Connor Wilkins. On Wednesday the freshman kept his undefeated record intact as he legged out a fantastic 3-6, 6-4 (10-8) victory over South Central’s No. 1 netter Sheldon Roberts.
After falling behind early, Wilkins rallied to force a tiebreaker and sealed the victory by nailing a shot down the right side of the court that kissed the inside of the backline to up his individual record to 9-0.
“Connor lost his first set 3-6 and was up big in the second set when the other boy started coming back on him, but he really just did what he needed to do,” Manzer said. “He is the better fundamental tennis player and he just stuck to his stroke and quit chopping the ball. … I was proud of him. He’s a heck of a kid.”
Also pulling out a singles victory was No. 6 seed Sam Grimes who topped Zach Brown 7-5, 5-7 (10-2). No. 2 seed Luke Harris fell to Clint Steele 7-5, 5-7 (10-8), No. 3 seed Lee Pinkhman dropped his match with Brett Congleton 6-4, 6-1, No. 4 seed Lee Hodges fell to Eric Thomas 6-2, 6-0 and No. 5 seed William Page lost to Chandler Butler 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles play, Wilkins and Harris teamed up to top Roberts and Steele in a close 9-7 battle, while Grimes and Pinkhman beat Thomas and Firas Quran 8-6 and Hodges and Page fell to Congleton Butler 8-6.
Despite the loss, Manzer said at the end of the day he was happy because his team gave the kind of effort he was looking for.
“The boys took it seriously. I saw boys go down and come back and still fight it out,” Manzer said. “We won every tiebreaker except for one … We fought as a team and we didn’t give up. The boys looked me in the eye and told me they left everything on the court and that’s all I could ever ask of them.”