ECH, Carrboro, NCSSM, Voyager host first-round tennis matches

Apr. 29, 2013 @ 06:42 PM

East Chapel Hill, Carrboro and N.C. Science & Math have earned top seeds and will host opening-round matches today in the NCHSAA dual-team tennis tournament.
Also hosting a first-round match today is Voyager Academy.
East Chapel Hill (13-5), the No. 1 seed from the PAC-6, will host Greater Neuse No. 2 seed Garner (12-8) at 4:30 p.m. Carrboro (15-1), the top seed from the Carolina 12 2-A Conference, will host wild-card entry Bunn (9-5) at 4 p.m. NCSSM (12-2), a perennial 1-A power, again is the top seed from the Carolina 12 1-A and will host C-12 wild card Franklin Academy at Whippoorwill Park at 4 p.m.
Voyager (8-7) also is a C-12 1-A wild card, hosting Carolina Conference wild card Goldsboro at 4 p.m.
Jordan (10-6), the second seed from the PAC-6, travels to Greater Neuse No. 1 Clayton (15-1). Chapel Hill (13-5), the second seed from the Carolina 6 3-A, travels to Southern Nash (15-0), the Big East champion. Finally, C-12 No. 2 seed Cedar Ridge (15-3) travels to Northeastern Coastal 2-A No. 1 seed Edenton Holmes (9-3).
All the road matches are scheduled for 4 p.m.
Tuesday’s winners advance to the second round, which will be played May 7.
The dual-team championships are only the first of the tennis titles to be contested. Coming Friday and Saturday are the first four rounds of boys’ individual tennis tournaments in all four classifications.
ECH coach Lindsey Linker returned to the sidelines of one of the area’s top programs this spring after a sabbatical related to her retirement from teaching. Without a senior in sight, Linker wasn’t sure what to expect of the Wildcats.
Still, she put together a strong schedule, hoping to toughen the team for the playoffs with a diet that included such top-ranked programs as Raleigh Wakefield and Raleigh Millbrook — both 5-4 losses by the Wildcats.
All five of ECH’s losses have been to highly ranked teams.
“It’s been a bit of a pleasant surprise for us since we weren’t sure what to expect from such a young team,” Linker said. “But these guys have worked so hard and improved so much this season.”
East Chapel Hill also had to survive the loss of No. 3 singles player Drew Clary to shoulder surgery, which forced Linker to remake her doubles lineup.
“It may actually make us stronger in doubles,” she said. “These guys are psyched for a few more ‘surprises’ this season. They know there is absolutely no pressure on them, so we’re just going to go into the playoffs taking one match at a time and ... have fun.”
The N.C. School of Science and Mathematics was eliminated in the 2012 semifinals by C-12 rival Raleigh Charter, the first time in three years the Unicorns did not play for a state championship.
After downing Raleigh Charter for the conference regular-season crown and No. 1 seed, Coach Richard McClenny’s program hopes to get back on the championship track on the Whippoorwill Park courts today.
Carrboro also has title aspirations. The Jaguars came within an eyelash of the state title a year ago but lost 5-1 to Shelby in the championship round.
The Jags lost three times in the regular season a year ago, but only once in 16 tries this time around.