Good times return for War Eagle tennis team

Published 8:51 am Thursday, March 30, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

After experiencing the longest losing streak (four) in 18 years, the Davie tennis team rediscovered its mojo, winning three matches in five days.

A home match against Glenn on March 20 did not feel like a real match. The Bobcats are down to three players and five forfeits were handed out in the 9-0 cakewalk. The players who faced an opponent were Zach Hill (6-0, 6-0), Hayden Key (6-0, 6-0) and Barrett Taylor (6-0, 6-0) in singles and Owen Tomlinson/Jonah Almond (8-0) in doubles.

Davie 7, Reynolds 2

While there was little to celebrate from the Glenn match, a road win at Reynolds on March 23 was something to be excited about. Davie had no problem with the Demons even though it was missing four players. In fact, Davie’s patchwork lineup produced a greater margin than the Feb. 28 meeting (6-3).

Three of the missing players are in the top six.

“Everyone who took the bus ride got a win,” coach Shane Nixon said. “We had guys out due to a band thing and guys stepped up.”

Davie was so thorough that Burke Rosenbaum (6-0, 6-0), Bryce Bailey (6-0, 6-0), Key (6-0, 6-0), Jackson Hepler (6-3, 6-2) and Grayson Busse (7-5, 6-2) clinched the decision in singles.

Rosenbaum improved to 9-1 at No. 1, Bailey moved to 7-3 at No. 2, and the duo is 8-1 as doubles partners.

“I continue to admire the work of Burke and Bryce,” Nixon said. “Today the duo played a total of 32 games and went 32-0. To go to that team’s place and go 32-0 – yeah, impressive.”

But Key, Hepler and Busse did their part to help Davie, which is 5-3 in the Central Piedmont Conference, defeat Reynolds for the 11th consecutive time.

“Hayden stepped up a spot and played his tail off,” Nixon said. “Jackson is a freshman finding ways to win matches. Grayson didn’t have his best stuff in the first set, but just kept battling.”

In doubles, Davie tacked on two wins: Rosenbaum/Bailey 8-0 and Busse/Slade Keaton 8-5.

“Slade took a tough loss in singles, one he thought he should have won, but he didn’t quit and got a win in doubles,” Nixon said.  “I won’t yet say we have righted the ship, but this is the kind of win that can help with that.”

Davie 8, SC 1

The War Eagles traveled to Dobson to face an undefeated nonconference opponent, but the result was no different than the day before. They were vastly more talented than Surry Central.

“It was a really good team win, and it’s nice to see us back on a win streak,” Nixon said after Davie won its third straight to raise its overall record to 6-5. “We scheduled over our heads this year, but playing tough teams is starting to have the benefit we hoped for. Surry Central’s No. 1 was a state qualifier in 2-A last year and will play basketball in college. Their No. 1 doubles hadn’t lost in a year-plus. This is a good team and we made it not look like that was the case.”

The barrage came from Rosenbaum (6-0, 6-0), Bailey (6-1, 6-0), Key (6-3, 6-3), Hepler (6-1, 6-1), Busse (6-3, 6-3), Rosenbaum/Bailey (8-3), Key/Hepler (8-6) and Hill/Taylor (8-5).

“This was a homecoming of sorts for me,” said Nixon, a Central graduate who played tennis for the Golden Eagles back in the day. “The guys kind of knew I wanted this one, and boy did they deliver. They made my homecoming a happy one for sure.”