War Eagle tennis closing in on another title

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie tennis team’s home victory over Reagan on Sept. 20 did not clinch another Central Piedmont Conference championship for the War Eagles, but the 6-3 decision put them on the doorstep of a three-peat.

Three weeks earlier, the War Eagles crushed Reagan 7-0 in a rain-shortened match in Pfafftown. The rematch wasn’t all sunshine and popsicles for the War Eagles. This one was challenging.

“Reagan has gotten better every single match, from what I can tell,” coach Collin Ferebee said after his girls seized sole possession of first place and knocked Reagan into a tie for second. “Reagan beat Reynolds (which beat Davie 5-4 on Sept. 13). At the beginning, I think they were trying to figure out their lineup and were dealing with a couple injuries.”

As this critical match got going, Ferebee was trying to figure out how to his team was going to manage five wins.

“Halfway through, I said: ‘I don’t know if we win this. Reagan is playing really well,’” he said.

Junior Elliot Newsome has been a machine for three seasons, and she did her thing at No. 1. The scores were 6-0, 6-1 as she ran her record to 10-1.

Corbin Drum was magnificent at No. 2, the freshman whipping a senior 6-1, 6-1 to raise her astonishing record to 9-1.

“The only two matches that were comfortable were Elliot and Corbin,” Ferebee said. “Corbin played the best match I’ve seen her play in high school. She’s been playing better and better throughout the year, but Elizabeth (Tomblyn of Reagan) is a good player. It’s not like Corbin got a gimme opponent. She was hitting the ball well, her volleys looked good and her serving was good. She was just locked in and ready to go.”

Davie has two exceptional freshmen in the lineup. The other is No. 4 Leah Gibson, who pulled out a gutsy 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 win over a senior. Gibson lifted her impressive record to 8-2.

“Her confidence got hit after Reynolds,” Ferebee said. “But I told her after (the Reagan match): ‘Leah, this is a match you would have lost earlier in the year. You’re still a freshman and you make freshman mistakes. But in less than one year, you’ve already turned that around to make this a win.’ I was really proud of how well she played.”

The outcome hung in the balance after singles – it was 3-3 – but Davie (9-1 overall) swept doubles to raise its CPC record to 8-1. Reagan and Reynolds both have two losses in league play.

Newsome/Aderhold cruised 8-1 to maintain their perfect record at 5-0. Drum/Gibson were not exactly crisp at No. 2, but they did what they had to do in an 8-5 win as they improved to 5-1. Ali Cranfill/Gabby Thompson won 8-5 at No. 3.

“(Drum and Gibson) did not play very well,” he said. “It was one of their worst matches together. But they clawed, fought, didn’t give up and ended up getting the win.”

Notes: Davie has a six-match winning streak against Reagan. … Two days earlier at home, Davie blanked inferior East Forsyth 9-0. Newsome, Drum, Bailey Aderhold, Gibson, Cranfill and Thompson combined to win 72 of 76 games in singles.