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Demon netters snap skid, get region victory, as well

Posted: March 30, 2017 2:33 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Dreher snapped a three-match win streak for the Lugoff-Elgin tennis team on Wednesday but not before L-E’s Tuesday night Region 6-4A victory over Hartsville.

Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Hartsville gave Edward Rickwood’s squad a final 1-3 conference mark. It came a day after a 6-0 win over Richland Northeast and before the 5-2 Dreher setback.

The Hartsville win was the third in a row for L-E.

“Even sweeter, though, is that this win was against a region opponent,” said Rickwood whose team fell to the Red Foxes, 4-2, in their first meeting. “We are nearly back up to full numbers and playing much more like a team that believes in themselves.”

The Demons won from second singles down in this match with Matthew Mills defeating Jacob Prozzi, 6-3, 6-4, in a pairing in which Mills started slowly in both sets before finding his stride. “Matthew managed to push his opponent deep into the corners to finish off a lot of points with easier winners,” Rickwood said. “Matthew’s serve was also on fire and he showed it by ending the match on an ace.”

Tyler Matthews then made quick work of Christopher Beasley, wining 6-3, 6-2, in third singles. Ryan Hill had the better of things at fourth singles in downing Duncan Crawley, 6-1, 7-5, while Holden Roberts closed singles play with a marathon 6-0, 5-7, 11-9 victory over Cooper Myers.

“Ryan’s serve helped him finish off a rather quick first set. His serve left him in the second, so he had to try to close out with a different sort of game plan,” Rickwood said of Hill’s match. “He did well to take a 5-2 lead but his opponent was not ready to step off the court yet. At 5-5, Ryan knew he needed to fight to get momentum back in his favor. He did and so managed to take the last set 7-5.”

L-E won second doubles with Cody Morrison and Trey Stephens working to beat Austin Grant and Caleb Riley, 6-7, 6-3, 10-6, which, along with Roberts’ victory at number five, prevented first doubles from having to be played.

 “All eyes were on the two tie-breaks being played on courts five and six,” Rickwood said. “Our boys showed a lot more experience than their actual time of play would suggest as they moved well together and took the net and match.”

Hartsville’s lone win came at first singles with Mac Waldrop handing Spencer Hinton a pair of 6-4 losses.

“The boys are playing much better as a team right now,” Rickwood said. “It isn’t just because they have their top player back and so they can play their actual positions. It is because they are starting to play and trust their own game.”

Rickwood said the Dreher match was one which “honestly could have gone either way. One thing was for certain though, Dreher’s top two players were the toughest top two players we have had to face all year.”

Daniel Brown stopped Hinton at first singles, 6-1, 6-2, while Wilson Stone defeated Mills, 6-0, 6-2. The Blue Devils also won at third singles with Todd Downey topping Matthews, 7-5, 6-0 in a match in which Matthews led, 5-4, in the first set.

Hill gave L-E a win at fourth singles in taking down Conner Smith by identical 6-3 scores. The second Demons victory was supplied by Roberts, who beat Thomas Postic, 6-3, 6-1, in fifth singles.

“Ryan was playing better than we have seen him play in a while,” Rickwood said of Hill. “He was able to find his game early and keep it steady throughout both sets. He came off the courts not just knowing he had won but that he had played a great match.


“In true Holden fashion, he got off to a fast start. His quick feet kept him ahead of his Dreher opponent for the rest of the match. He never let up, and in a very un-Holden like fashion, he was one of the first winners off of the court.”

DHS won the second doubles match with Julian Downey and Tyler Wesley dealing Morrison and Stephens a pair of 7-5 defeats. In first singles, Brown and Stone upended Hinton and Mills, 6-0, 6-1 in a match played when the outcome of the match was still in doubt.

“Again,” Rickwood said, “these two Dreher players are the toughest that we have had to face. This matchup was good practice for playoffs. Even though we lost this one, too, they stayed faithful to their own games. If we have to lose, I rather see my boys go down swinging rather than with their heads hanging low in defeat.”

The Demons opened their three-match week by shutting out RNE on Monday to snap a five-match skid.

Hinton outlasted Alex Winslow, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) in the longest match of the night. “It was a good test of Spencer’s endurance after spending so much time off the court with injury,” Rickwood said. “Long rallies, exchanging of breaks of serves, fantastic gets, high lobs and wonderful passing shots to the corners was what the crowd got to see over two very close sets.”

Mills continued his fine play at second singles in stopping Andrew Chang, 6-1, 7-5, before Matthews was extended to three sets before coming away with a 6-0, 2-6, 10-8 win over Nessim Flores at third singles. “Tyler played a very dominant opening set but he struggled a little bit to find the court in the second. Fortunately he figured out the changes to Nessim’s game just in time for the third set tie-break,” Rickwood said.

In fourth singles, Hill topped Josh Acree, 6-4, 6-4, while Roberts closed out singles action by downing Garrett Ellis, 6-0, 7-5.

Morrison and Stephens had little trouble in blanking the Cavaliers’ second doubles tandem of Noah Boykin and Jayden Adams, 6-0, 6-0. “Unlike some of the other courts,” Rickwood said, “our doubles team was able to start strong and end strong. The only down side to the match was that there was a last minute substitution due to an injury to one of our players over the weekend. Nevertheless, Coby and Trey communicated well as they took the match without dropping any games.”



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