Tennis team wins four in a row

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Two weeks after suffering through a fourth straight loss, the Davie tennis team picked up its fourth straight win by overwhelming East Forsyth, 8-1, at home on March 27.

“With a young team, that shows so much,” coach Shane Nixon said after Davie’s fifth win in six matches. “My guys are improving, getting better, and this is what we strive for.”

Not only did the War Eagles sweep singles while claiming all 12 sets, the closest margin in any of those sets was 6-3. That was impressive considering East was coming off a win over Reynolds.

“East is so much better than they were last year,” Nixon said. “I know an 8-1 score might suggest something else, but this is a team that just beat Reynolds. They have a couple guys who will be All-CPC. This score is indicative more of how well we played.”

No. 1 Burke Rosenbaum and No. 2 Bryce Bailey both won 6-0, 6-0, as well as an 8-1 romp as doubles partners, because of course they did. They improved to 11-1 and 9-3 in singles, respectively, and they moved to 10-1 in doubles.

“These are two great kids,” Nixon said. “Both have taken on roles as captains of this team. Both put their figurative arms around our younger guys. Both are good students, both are fine young men. The tennis is like gravy on really good biscuits – you don’t have to have it, but it sure is good.”

Now let’s look at Davie’s sophomore group. Hayden Key, a 6-1, 6-2 winner at No. 4, improved to 9-3 while playing anywhere from three to six. Zach Hill (6-3, 6-3 win at No. 3), Key, Grayson Busse and Barrett Taylor have combined for an 18-9 record in singles.

“This sophomore class is really making an impact,” he said. “Zach, Hayden, Grayson and Barrett have all played well at different times and contributed in different ways. In this match, Zach and Hayden played really well. Barrett and Grayson played well in losses. It was kind of unfair to those guys to play at No. 2 doubles. They had never even played together, but we were trying to get finished before rain and they went out and held their own.”

Jackson Hepler (6-2, 6-3 at No. 5) and Slade Keaton (6-1, 6-1 at No. 6) completed the singles sweep. Owen Tomlinson/Jonah Almond earned an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles. And Davie breezed even though it continued to play at less than full strength.

“We are still down a couple of guys,” he said. “Sean Lane, who has been in our top six most of the year, is still not 100 percent and has had some schedule conflicts. Jack Williams, a senior captain who had just earned his way back into the top six, has been out for a week (with a sickness). We’ve not had the same lineup more than once during this four-match winning streak, which makes it all the more impressive. I am really happy with where we are.”

Reagan 6, Davie 3

Nixon has no doubt Davie is improving as it goes, but Reagan is just on a different level. The Raiders dealt visiting Davie its sixth loss by a 6-3 margin on March 29.

Rosenbaum and Bailey, who both won 6-0, 6-0 in singles and then 8-0 in doubles, kept flying high. Davie, though, couldn’t manage any other wins as it dropped to 7-6 overall and 6-4 in the Central Piedmont Conference.

“Reagan is the second-best team in the CPC,” Nixon said. “Burke and Bryce played amazingly well, but we couldn’t get anything else to come together. Guys are playing above where they need to be with injuries and our youth. That will help in the future, but it feels like growing pains now.”