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Demons netters rip RNE twice

Posted: April 10, 2014 1:46 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2014 5:00 a.m.

With their head coach missing the match due to a knee injury, the Lugoff-Elgin tennis team tried to help in Edward Rickwood’s recovery by dousing visiting Richland Northeast, 7-0, in a Region 4-4A match played on Tuesday.
The victory evened the Demons’ overall ledger at 5-5 while they improved to 3-3 in conference action.
With assistant coach Keith Benggio taking over the reins, the hosts rolled to straight set victories over the Cavaliers starting in first singles with Hunter Horton making quick time of his opponent in coming away with a pair of 6-0 victories. Hunter Johnson followed with a 6-0, 6-2 win in second singles while Nathan Tyson had little problems at third singles, winning 6-0, 6-1.
After trailing his opponent, 5-2, in the first set, L-E fourth singles player Justin Tillman rallied for a 7-5 victory and was leading in the second set, 4-0, when his opponent retired due to pain in his lower back. James Carraway upended his opponent in fifth singles, 6-1, 6-0, to keep the shutout intact.
The Demons’ second doubles tandem of Chance Sheorn and Matthew Mills, an eighth-grader at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School swept their match 6-1, 6-3. While a tie-breaker was not necessary in this contest, both teams wanted to get experience for their first doubles tandem with Horton and Johnson breezing to an 8-1 win in a pro set.
One day later, the Demons traveled to Richland Northeast for a make-up match from a rained-out contest and put on a near carbon copy performance by blanking the Cavalaiers, 6-0.
Horton again won his match with a pair of 6-0 shutouts while Johnson scored a 6-2, 6-1 victory followed by Tyson's 6-2, 6-0 romp.
In fourth singles, Tillman dropped the first set, 6-4, before coming back to take the second, 7-5, and then the tie-breaker, 10-6.
“Justin faced a match point, serving 4-5, in the second set,” Rickwood said of Tillman’s match.
“He had to put up back-to-back defensive lobs to stay in the point. The second lob resulted in his opponent’s overhead going into the net. 
“The third set tie-break went back and forth until they got to 6-6. After the change of ends, Justin rattled off the last four points to finally get his win.”
Things were not as wild in fifth singles as Carraway blitzed his RNE foe in a pair of 6-0 victories.
In second doubles, the L-E tandem of Sheorn and Mills were winning the first set, 6-0, when Sheorn’s return hit the body of one of the Cavalier players. The players twisted his ankle during the point as he tried to return the shot. After having been treated by an athletic trainer, the injury would not allow the injured player to continued playing as RNE defaulted.
On Thursday, the Demons traveled to Blythewood with a win over the Bengals securing L-E’s third straight trip to the 4A state playoffs and a chance to finish third in Region 4.
The Demons won the first meeting between the two 4-4A rivals, 6-1.
“We beat Blythewood earlier this year. Three of those games were decided in third set tie-breaks,” Rickwood said. “With a strong showing against Spring Valley and back to back wins over RNE, a team we have historically battled for the last spot in the playoffs, we feel pretty good about our chances.”

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