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L-E netters thump Monarchs, 6-0

Posted: March 12, 2018 3:48 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.

One night after a tough season-opening, 4-2, loss to Spring Valley and still riding high after such a great match against the Vikings, the Lugoff-Elgin tennis team traveled to Manning on Friday with high hopes, confidence and with a bit of trepidation with the Monarchs  under the direction of a new head coach.

The Demons’ fears were for naught, however, as Edward Rickwood’s charges downed Manning, 6-0.

The longest match of the evening came at first singles as L-E’s Spencer Hinton outlasted Jullian Richardson, 3-6, 6-0, 10-8. “Spencer could not get his shots to land right in the first set but, he seemed to right the rudder in the second,” Rickwood said. “The third set was pretty much up for grabs as both fought to edge the other one out. Seeing that they were pretty much the last ones on the courts at the end of the night, Spencer finally put an end to it.”

In second singles, Alex Hinton swept Brandon Burgess in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, in a pairing which lasted longer than the one-sided outcome might indicate. “Alex had to stay mentally focused as his opponent took a few medical timeouts. Brandon still was able to blast shots past Alex, but not enough to keep Alex from taking the match,” Rickwood said.

A pair of second set tie-breakers came into play at third and fourth singles with Matthew Mills stopping Hane Mitchum, 6-2, 7-6 (10-5), at third singles before Holden Roberts handed Xavier Gibson a 6-1, 7-6, (10-3), setback at number four.

“This game was full of long rallies,” Rickwood said of the third singles pairing. “Matthew was hitting very well and Hane was able to keep blocking back into play many balls that Matthew thought were going to be clear winners. Hane was able to keep it a little closer in the second set, but Matthew took clear control of the tie-break for the win.

“This match was almost an exact carbon copy of what was happening on court number three,” Rickwood said of play in fourth singles. “Holden was hitting some apparent winners that wound up being lobbed back into play by his opponent. Xavier was a much heavier hitter, too, for Holden to have to absorb and he was able to do so all the way to the end.”

In fifth singles, L-E’s Coby Morrison stepped Tai Blair, 6-1, 6-4, while the Demons’ second doubles tandem of Evan Freier and Andrew Boone won by identical 6-2 scores. “Evan and Andrew learned a lot from their first match,” Rickwood said. “They had a few changes that made this match a little less stressful for them. They played a very smart game. 

“Even though we still much to learn, these two seem up for the challenge.”

Rickwood said his team learned something from their loss to Spring Valley.

“We have not been too competitive with them in the past,” he said of the Vikings, “but Thursday was a different story. Although we did not come out with a win, we were not disappointed in our performance.

Hinton collected a three-set win over Shyan Ganyh Baby, 6-7 (10-4), 6-3, (10-8, at first singles in a match in which Hinton jumped to an early lead only for Baby to come roaring back.  

“Shots that were working for Spencer early in the match were no longer as effective late in the set,” Rickwood said. “Spencer seemed to be in cruise control by the second set. The third set was very competitive. Neither player seemed to be able to gain any momentum until (Hinton) finally grabbed the last couple of points.”

L-E’s second win was supplied by Morrison who stopped Mathew Vaughn, 6-2, 6-3, in fifth singles. “Coby and his opponent went back and forth for a while at the beginning of each set. Coby is the one that was able to figure out though how to swing momentum in his favor and was able to secure our first victory of the season,” Rickwood said.

SV won at second singles with Brayden McGuirt holding off Hinton, a seventh-grader, 6-2, 6-3. In third singles, Mills fell to Chase Brantley, 5-7, 1-6, in a pairing in which Mills struggled with consistency. Sandeep Solomon then outlasted Roberts, 6-4, 7-5, 10-5, at fourth singles.

“Alex Hinton held his composure and rallied impressively in his very first match of high school tennis,” Rickwood said. “Brayden just had the experience and shot making ability to keep Alex on his heels. Brayden was very gracious and complimentary with his opponent and visiting coach. We could not have asked for a better opponent for Alex to start with this season.”

SV won at second doubles with Siddhath Gainey and Carson Aycock handing Freier and Boone a 2-6, 6-1, 10-7 loss. “Evan Freier has returned to Lugoff-Elgin tennis after taking last year off, and Andrew Boone has joined the team after getting to know some of the players in the offseason. Both are welcome additions to the team,” Rickwood said. “This was their first official match as a doubles team, and they performed rather well trying to deliver on their strengths.”

Rickwood said his team had nothing to be discouraged about following the close defeat to the 5A Vikings.

“Even with the loss on the night,” he said, “we held their heads high knowing that they had put in a very strong performance. 

“Two of the matches we lost that night went to a third-set decider. With just one of those as a win, we could have fought it out with our number one doubles. With both of them winning, we could have taken the night,” Rickwood said.

“We were glad about how we held our own against a team with a history and good reputation as a team that tends to still be playing deep into the playoffs,” he added.


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