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L-E tennis team advances to second round with 4-2 win

Posted: May 1, 2017 4:23 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2017 1:00 a.m.

In a year of firsts for the Lugoff-Elgin boys’ tennis team, last Thursday’s 4-2 victory over visiting Cane Bay in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs was another feather in the cap for head coach Edward Rickwood and the Demons.

“It has been a very long time since we have not made playoffs but this is the first time getting second place in the region and our first time hosting a playoff match,” Rickwood said. And it marked the first time Rickwood and company advanced to the second round of playoffs.

Today, the Demons make the short trip to Forest Acres to take on Region 5 champion A.C. Flora, a 5-0 winner over St. James, in second round action.

In the first meeting between a pair of seemingly evenly matched teams, the Demons received wins at first, third, fourth and fifth singles to sew up the victory.

Occupying his normal spot at the top of the lineup, Spencer Hinton downed CB’s Jordan Howell at first singles, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2.)

“Spencer took off quickly and took the first set relatively easily,” Rickwood said. “The second set proved to be a little more difficult for him, though. For most of the set, Spencer found himself playing catch-up. He managed to get it to a second set tie-break. With the end so close in sight, Spencer found a way to put a series of points together to take the tie-break.”

In third singles, Tyler Matthews swept Don Keyes, 6-0, 6-1, while Ryan Hill won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, over Andrew Zhuo at fourth singles.

“Tyler, historically, is the last one off the courts but this night he took less time than normal to finish the job. Despite the score and the early exit off of the court, the rallies and games were quite lengthy,” Rickwood said of Matthews’ win.

“Ryan (Hill) and Andrew looked very similar in game play throughout the first set. Ryan was the one to find a way to change to a new gear to close out the set. He kept his momentum going in the second set and ended the match pretty sure of himself.”

Hill’s victory was the one which put the Demons over the top in a match which opened with Holden Roberts making quick work of Cane Bay’s Andrew Dodd in fifth singles with a business-like 6-0, 6-2 win.

“Much like Tyler,” Rickwood said, “Holden is typically one of the last ones off of the courts. Again like Tyler, Holden changed that and managed to be the first one off of the courts”

Cane Bay took second singles with Melvin Tejada outlasting Matthew Mills, 7-5, 6-2, 10-5. “All three sets were going Matthew’s way until they were not anymore,” Rickwood said. “(Mills) was up by a lot in the first set, but fell out of his rhythm and gave Melvin the chance to close out the set. The second set looked very much like the first except that Matthew was able to finish it. Matthew had the lead in the third set until Melvin was able to put six points together in a row to finish out the match.”

The visitors won the only doubles match with Nathan West and Carter Hinkle handing Coby Morrison and Trey Stephens a pair of 6-2 defeats.

Rickwood said that he “needed his team members to believe in their game, play their game and not let Cane Bay sit back and play their own. They wanted it and they got it done.”

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