War Eagle tennis coach notches 100th win

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The week of March 18 saw another downturn for Davie’s senior-less tennis team. Two losses extended Davie’s slump to one win in ive matches.

On the bright side, the week began with 10th-year coach Shane Nixon hitting a milestone – win No. 100. He’s far and away the winningest coach in the 51-year history of Davie boys tennis. The leader on the girls’ side is Sandra Boyette, who guided Davie to 94 victories in nine years from 2006-14.

Nixon hit triple digits when Davie made quick work of visiting Parkland, 9-0, on March 18.

The winners in singles were Zach Hill, Grayson Busse, Hayden Key, Brady Carter, Jackson Hepler and Barrett Taylor. All the scores were 6-0, 6-0 except for one, and that one was 6-1, 6-0.

The winning teams in doubles: Carter/Max Rappaport, Taylor/Sean Lane and Jonah Almond/Owen Tomlinson. Those scores were 8-1, 8-0 and 8-1, respectively.

“We were able to get some guys chances to play who don’t get to play every match, which is good,” Nixon said. “To get to 100 career wins is huge. I’ve had great players, great teams and I am so thrilled to have gotten to do this for this long and have had this kind of success.”

N. Iredell 7, Davie 2

In a road nonconference match on March 20, North Iredell was simply too much for the War Eagles, who were swept in doubles. Due to strong winds, it was a miserable day to play tennis.

“We’d been trying to schedule North Iredell for a couple years; I knew they were good,” Nixon said. “Conditions were tough for all the players. We played in wind with 28 mph gusts.”

In singles, Key (8-5 at No. 3) and Hepler (9-7 at No. 5) kept Davie alive.

“I likely haven’t said enough about the year Hayden is having,” Nixon said. “Like his fellow juniors at the top, Hayden has been crucial to lead this young team. But his on-court performance has been amazing. He’s a crafty lefty, using all his shots and making points. I am pleased with his play.

“Big win for Jackson. He and Barrett have been keys to our success, and both guys are playing well.”

Two long winning streaks fell at the hands of the Raiders. Carter suffered his first loss at No. 4 after starting 7-0, and Carter/Rappaport fell at No. 3 doubles after starting 6-0.

“Brady likely beats that guy if they play again, but today he had Brady’s number,” Nixon said. “Max and Brady just couldn’t get it going in the wind in doubles.”

Reynolds 5, Davie 4

Reynolds finally managed to turn the tables on the War Eagles, who took the first matchup 5-4 on Feb. 29 to extend their series winning streak to 12.

The Demons got their sweet revenge at Davie (5-4 overall, 4-3 CPC) on March 21.

“We knew Reynolds was coming across the river angry after we beat them over there,” Nixon said.

The teams split in singles. Key (6-0, 6-3), Carter (6-0, 6-2) and Hepler (6-4, 6-2) rolled to wins. Reynolds, however, prevailed at one, two and six to make it 3-3 going into doubles.

“Hayden’s stellar play continues,” Nixon said. “He seems to thrive on being underestimated athletically. He is faster than you think, hits it harder than you think, and being left handed, it just surprises people.

“Brady bounced back well, as did he and Max in doubles. Glad to see the freshmen handle their first loss with a bounce-back win.

“Jackson has hit another gear. He’s playing really well, having a good year.”

Carter/Rappaport accounted for Davie’s fourth win at No. 3 doubles. They pulled out a white-knuckler, 9-8.

Their records may not show it, but Hill and Busse are playing inspired tennis at the top of the lineup.

“I can’t say enough how hard Zach and Grayson are playing at the top,” Nixon said. “Both guys are giving max effort. Zach is playing his best tennis and to go out and lose when that is the case, match after match, is tough. But by going right back out there, he is showing his character. Grayson has had a back injury and has played through it and toughed it out.”

Nixon also has zero complaints about his No. 6 guy, Taylor.

“Barrett continues to be so steady and such a great kid,” he said. “Even when things don’t go his way, he is the first to help a teammate or coach with anything.”