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L-E netters split two matches

Posted: April 12, 2018 11:57 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Lugoff-Elgin tuned up for Thursday’s Region 6-4A opening tennis match with Hartsville by dropping a Wednesday match to always tough 5A foe Spring Valley, 4-2.

“My boys were so close once again to going the distance against Spring Valley,” said L-E head coach Edward Rickwood. “I know my boys were disappointed about not coming out of the contest with the win but, the coaches feel better about the way we played tonight with such an important region match coming up .

“A couple of points here and there could have changed our outcome of a 4-2 loss into who knows what.”

SV’s Shyam Ganesh Baby outlasted Spencer Hinton, 7-6 (10-4), 7-5 in a well-contested first singles match.

“Both boys had strong moments and both had times where they struggled a bit,” Rickwood said. “Spencer had triple-set points that he was unable to capitalize on in the first set. From then on, he would have to play from behind.”

Alex Hinton gave L-E a win at second singles as he took down Abhi Nair, 6-4, 6-2, in the first match to be completed. “Alex Hinton was, once again, playing with a lot of poise and control,” Rickwood said. “There were times he could count on some unforced errors from his opponent but, there were many times he pushed the issue to set himself up for an easy put away shot.”

The Vikings won at third singles with Chase Brantley stopping Matthew Mills, 6-1, 7-5.

“It took Matthew a bit of time to find a way to take his opponent out of his game. The first set slipped away rather quickly. The second set was a little more competitive as Matthew started landing more shots and moving his opponent a little more,” Rickwood said. “In the end, it was a little late to make a real difference.

SV took the fourth singles pairing with Sandeep Solomon topping Holden Roberts, 6-3, 6-4, in a match which nearly mirrored that played on the third singles’ court.

Coby Morrison provided the Demons with their second victory as he defeated Carson Aycock, 6-2, 6-4.

“Coby and his opponent exchanged long rallies and many service winners,” Rickwood said. “The games were much closer than the score would indicate. Coby looked to be in control most of the way. It took quite a while, but Coby was able to walk off the courts with the win.”

SV’s second doubles tandem of Siddharth Gianey and Ethan Bidwell handed Andrew Boone and Evan Freier a 7-5, 6-1 loss.  The L-E duo enjoyed a quick early lead as the while winning the first four games of the match. “Things started to go awry for them though, and they were never able to get the game back on track. Many unforced errors and unfortunate shots gave Spring Valley just what they needed to finish the second set off in a hurry,” Rickwood said.

“It would have been nice to see the game go to a deciding first doubles match. Every player on our team showed in at least one of their sets that they had the game to hang with this very tough team. We just need to figure out how to get our ‘A’ game out on the courts... from start to finish... all at the same time.”

Unsure of what his players would be like after a week off from school, Rickwood was anxious to see how quickly his players could get back into the swing of things.

On Tuesday, he got his answer as the Demons handed North Central a 6-0 loss.

“This was a good match to have as we enter the second half of our season,” Rickwood said. 

Spencer Hinton downed NC’s Josh Bowers in first singles, 6-3, 6-2, before Alex Hinton stopped Jake Crosby in second singles, 6-0, 6-1. Mills then shut out Nathan Catoe at third singles by a pair of 6-0 scores.

“Spencer got off to a slow start in his match. He managed to stay ahead of his opponent long enough to find his rhythm,” Rickwood said of Spencer Hinton’s pairing at first singles. “Once he started zoning in on his shots, he was able to take real control of the sets. 

“Alex (Hinton) showed no signs of having any time off as he raced through both of his sets. High percentage shots and great court awareness allowed Alex to dictate play throughout his match,” Rickwood said. 

“Smart play and accurate shots seemed to be Matthew’s (Mills) game plan. He was all smiles as he stepped off of his court and realized that he was the first one done with quite a dominant victory.”

L-E won at fourth singles with Roberts using a quick start to take down Michael Rogers, 6-3, 6-1. Rogers rebounded to close the gap in the longest match of the evening.

Morrison stopped Gavin Oliver, 6-0, 6-4, to give the hosts a sweep of singles play. “Coby too got off to a quick start in his match. The second set was much closer,” Rickwood said. “Gavin did a good job at keeping points alive and Coby started misfiring wide, long and into the net. With the end in sight, smarter plays enabled Coby to take the last two games and the match.”

The Demons took the lone doubles pairing with Boone and Freier handing Loucas L’Elie and Miles Stukes a 6-2, 6-0 setback.

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