Tennis falls 5-4 to powerful Mt. Tabor in exciting matches

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s tennis team could not quite close the deal on its upset bid at Mt. Tabor on April 11, but Davie gave the Spartans a mighty scare in a 5-4 decision.

“It felt more like a steel cage grudge match than tennis, but man was it great tennis,” coach Shane Nixon said.

Top seed Burke Rosenbaum and No. 2 Bryce Bailey turned in breathtaking performances in singles, with Rosenbaum knocking off Adam Cartright 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 and Bailey outlasting Landon Wishner 7-5, 6-7, 10-5.

This was one of the best wins of Rosenbaum’s career. He ran his season record to 13-1 and beat Cartright, a fellow senior, for the second time in his four years. It was also a thrilling moment for Bailey, who lifted his season record to 11-3.

The same four players collided at No. 1 doubles. That produced another epic battle, although the Tabor duo squeaked out a victory there to help spell the difference in the team scoring.

“The three matches that took place on courts 1-2, this was big boy tennis, as coach (Terri) Eanes said,” Nixon said. “The level of play was spectacular. Burke and Bryce, along with Cartright and Wishner from Tabor, put on a clinic. I think one thing that shows how good it was, we had people walking over from other events – softball, lacrosse, track – while their kids were still participating to see what was going on at the tennis courts. The atmosphere was electric. The play was superb.

“For two years now, (Rosenbaum and Cartright) have gone back and forth. They compete together in doubles in summer tournaments sometimes. Their familiarity is strong. When Cartright got off to the good start, especially after (beating) Burke easily at our place, I wasn’t sure what might happen. That is until I talked to Burke at a switchover. He was calm and we talked about just kind of sticking around in this match – and stick around he did. That second set was a masterpiece. Two guys just literally pummeling tennis balls at each other. Adam hits it so hard, Burke lost the end cap to his racket and broke a string once. Then Burke really got going, and again on the switchover we talked about now making Adam play at Burke’s pace. Burke finally threw his racket up in the air at the end and let out a guttural scream. He made me think of his cousin, C (Crenshaw).”

The outrageous efforts from Rosenbaum and Bailey don’t tell the full story. Sophomore Hayden Key was a part of two electric wins himself, prevailing 7-5, 6-4 at No. 4 singles and teaming with Jackson Hepler for an 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles. Key raised his singles record to 10-4.

“We may have found the next great player at Davie,” Nixon said. “Hayden has played four matches against Tabor this year – two singles and two doubles – and he is 4-0. He has got some real work to step up the way we are going to need him to next year, but man is he on the right path. He literally picked up Jackson after he played easily his worst match of the year, and the two put a good plan together and won in doubles. Jackson is a freshman, so again, the future is not as dismal as some might think losing all we’ll lose this year.”

Rosenbaum/Bailey suffered a narrow 8-6 loss to Cartright/Wishner, just their second doubles loss in 13 matches this season.

Notes: Davie pushed Tabor harder than it did in a 6-3 loss at home on March 8. … Davie is 1-7 in matches decided by 6-3 or 5-4 margins.

WF 7, Davie 2

Two days later, War Eagles lost at home loss to first-place West Forsyth.

“The schedule-makers didn’t do us any favors in the CPC,” Nixon said. “Tabor and West are the two best teams and we drew them back-to-back. We looked tired. That is not a knock on our guys at all; in fact, it is a compliment. They poured themselves into Tuesday night and gave me everything they had today. West is just really good and it wasn’t enough.”

Rosenbaum’s singles match went to the third-set tiebreaker. He was simply out of gas and fell short (2-6, 7-5, 6-10).

“Burke played so hard,” Nixon said. “He lost the first set and then battled with everything he had. His shoulders were so sore, he had to serve underhanded most of the second and third sets, and yet he made a match of it. He really didn’t want to lose that match, but I think he just ran out of gas. Somehow he rallied, caught a second wind, and he and Bryce took care of business in doubles.”

Bailey did outstanding work. After winning 6-1, 6-2 in singles, he helped Rosenbaum to an 8-4 win in doubles.

“Bryce had a great week,” Nixon said. “He asserted himself as the best No. 2 and possibly the fourth-best player in the CPC. Wins over the twos from Tabor and West and two doubles wins – it was quite the week for ole Bryce.”

Davie, however, offered little resistance at six spots in the lineup. Nixon said that had everything to do with West.

“West is as deep as any team we played this year,” he said. “All kudos to them. It was just kind of a tip-your-hat-to-the-better-team kind of day.”

Davie (7-8 overall, 6-6 CPC) has dropped three in a row.