Holy cannoli: Tennis duo bounces back for conference title

Published 1:49 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

At one point during the second set of the semifinals against a pair from Reagan, it looked like sophomore Bailey Aderhold and freshman Corbin Drum’s run in the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament was all but over.

The Davie doubles team was drubbed 6-2 in the first set, and the second set wasn’t going any better when the Raiders held a 3-0 advantage.

Then it was boom goes the dynamite.

Aderhold/Drum mounted a furious comeback, pulled out a 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 victory and then rolled in the finals to capture the CPC doubles title.

Holy cannoli.

“At one point, all of us were just staring,” coach Collin Ferebee said after the tournament at Hanes Park in Winston-Salem on Oct. 10. “We had never seen these two girls from Reagan play as lights out as they did. In about 25 minutes, Bailey and Corbin weren’t playing bad. It was: ‘Nothing I’m doing is working and I don’t know what else to try.’ We talked and I said do these one or two things and they said: ‘Alright, coach, we’ve got this.’ I said: ‘One game at a time, one game at a time.’ And by gosh, they came back and won. It was one of the most impressive comebacks I’ve seen in a while.”

Aderhold and Drum did not play doubles together during the regular season. Aderhold was 8-0 with Elliot Newsome as her partner at No. 1; Drum was 8-1 while playing with Leah Gibson at No. 2.

“I thought maybe we should run with this (combination) next year,” Ferebee said. “They’re such a good pairing. I think they played together in middle school. It’s something we toyed around with in practice and the summer when we were still trying to figure out our lineups.”

Aderhold/Drum blasted Glenn 10-1 in the first round. In the quarterfinals, their 10-8 winning margin was deceiving.

“It wasn’t a bad match, but Corbin and Bailey were clearly the better team,” Ferebee said.

That set up the semifinal match against Reagan’s No. 1 team. After digging the hole, Aderhold and Drum played out of their minds. In the final, they brushed aside Reynolds’ No. 1 team 6-2, 6-4 as Davie retained the doubles championship (Leslie Newsom and Newsome won it in 2022).

“I had never seen them go from so exasperated to so pleased in such a short amount of time,” Ferebee said of the semifinal rally. “It was one of those moments when they said: ‘Coach, I’ve got nothing.’ But they never quit; they never gave up.”

•••

In singles, Newsome won her first two matches 10-0. She beat a girl from West Forsyth 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals. That set up a heavyweight battle against West senior Sam McEachran in the final.

McEachran advanced to the final with 10-1, 10-6 and 6-2, 6-0 victories.

In the final, McEachran did what she does. She held off Newsome 6-4, 6-4 to nail down a perfect record in her CPC singles career. But she did have to answer an inspired challenge from Newsome, who dominated everyone except the West star during a 16-3 junior season. Yes, all three losses were to McEachran, who went 58-0 with four singles titles in her career, including an overall mark of 20-0 so far in 2023.

“We got the rematch that we wanted,” Ferebee said. “It lived up to everything it was supposed to be. We were on the wrong side of it again, but Elliot played one heck of a match. She left it out there. She had nothing to hang her head about.”

“Her style of play really took a lot for me to get used to and was always really challenging,” McEachran told the Winston-Salem Journal. “We’ve had some great matches.”

Gibson had a 1-1 showing in singles. She whipped an opponent from Mt. Tabor 10-2 in the first round before losing 10-2 to Reynolds’ No. 2 player in the quarterfinals. The semifinalists qualified for the regional, so Gibson was one win away. Still, she finished with an awesome record (13-3) for a freshman.

“She beat a good player,” Ferebee said. “I was proud of her for that. Leah played (the opponent from Reynolds) well; she played her hard. But it was one of those where the better player and the more experienced player won. Nothing to be upset over. She finished top eight in the conference, and that’s not bad for a freshman.”

Although seniors Ali Cranfill and Gabby Thompson lost 10-0 to Reynolds in the first round, they never backed down. They went 4-1 at No. 3 doubles in the regular season.

“Unfortunately, they drew the two seed in the first round,” Ferebee said. “It’s one of those the score looks bad, but if you had watched them, three or four straight games went to deuce. They just ended up on the wrong side of all of them. It could have very easily been 10-3 or 10-4. The better team won – Reynolds deserved to win – but the score didn’t reflect how well Gabby and Ali played.”