Durham County

NCSSM dominates Carrboro in tennis playoffs

N.C. School of Science and Math Unicorns logo.
N.C. School of Science and Math Unicorns logo.

N.C. School of Science and Math defeated Carrboro in the third round of 2A dual-team championships 5-1 at Whippoorwill Park on Monday afternoon.

“The match was a lot closer than some of the scores,” said Unicorns coach Richard McClenny. “We knew it was going to be tough.”

Zach Anderson put Carrboro on the board first with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Nick Kuzma, but Science and Math won the next five matches, all in straight sets.

On Court One, Depei Yu, who finished singles runner-up on Saturday at the NCHSAA 2A state championships, defeated Jason Wykoff 6-2, 6-1.

McClenny knows that Yu’s performance is often the catalyst for how the rest of the team will play.

“It’s important for him at No. 1 for the rest of the guys to see if he’s doing well, it gives the other guy some momentum.”

Not only is Yu an important factor on match day, playing against a strong singles competitor improves the rest of the team on a day-to-day basis.

“You can’t measure how much he brings to the team and the improvement of all the guys that hit with him.”

Andre Javen, who finished runner-up in doubles on Saturday with partner Wykoff, fell on Monday 6-4, 6-2 to Yu’s roommate, Ashvin Warrier on court three. Josh Abrams, who played on Carrboro last year before transferring to Science and Math, defeated Cole Honeycutt 6-1, 6-3 on court five.

McClenny was impressed with Abrams’ performance and credits his hard work throughout the year for the improvements he’s made.

Meanwhile, Vincent Xia defeated Ben Lu 6-3, 6-3 on court four.

In the final match of the day, Lu Cao outlasted Spencer Buebel 6-4, 7-5 in a highly competitive bout that secured the victory for Science and Math.

“The guys played very well across the board,” said McClenny.

The Unicorns and Jaguars are no strangers to each other in the dual-team championships. They’ve faced off against one another each of the last two seasons. Carrboro won in 2015 while Science and Math won in 2016. In both years, the winner of their head-to-head match-up has gone on to win the entire tournament.

“We know them very well, all the kids know each other and know the match-ups,” said McClenny. “It’s a close match every year.”

The victory puts 9-0 second seeded Science and Math into the final four where they will face seventh seeded Clinton.

McClenny has only see Clinton in regional competitor, but didn’t sound too worried about the match-up.

“I don’t think they’re a very strong team,” said McClenny. “The bottom half of the draw is definitely a whole lot weaker than the top half.”