It took a tiebreaker and two hours, but the Rowan County duo of senior Luke Burrows and sophomore Jordan Justice defeated Morgan County’s number one team of Jacob Elam and Mackenzie Daniels to claim the EKC doubles championship last Wednesday night.
The win avenges two losses this season and last year’s loss in the finals to the same Morgan players.
The EKC tennis tournament was held last Tuesday and Wednesday at the MSU courts. The EKC is made up of eight schools and each school enters two doubles teams and two singles in boys and girls.
Rowan took the first set 6-3, having come back from a 3-1 game deficit before taking command of the set. In the second set, each team had a lead at one point until the score was tied at 4-4. Morgan’s Daniels held serve to take the advantage to 5-4. With Justice serving, the last game of the set went to nine deuce points and several break points before Morgan prevailed forcing a third set, the super tiebreaker.
Rowan did not start strong, dropping the first two points of the tiebreaker. As a result of powerful serving from Justice, the team rattled off five straight points to go up 5-2. Trading points, the score inched up to 8-5. To finish the match, a combination of strong serving and good play helped to finish off the game with a 10-5 decision.
On their way to the finals, Burrows and Justice drew a bye in the first round and then defeated Russell’s number two team in the quarterfinals 8-5. In the semifinal match, Rowan faced Morgan’s number two team. Rowan won 8-4 advancing them to the finals.
Overall, the Rowan boys took runner up as a team in the EKC. Contributing to the 2nd place finish were singles competitors Paul Eisenhour and Collen Tuerk who won first round matches 8-1 and 8-0 respectively.
Viking Tennis bests the Comets
In Regional action Monday night in boys’ tennis, the Vikings defeated a depleted West Carter team to move to 5 -2 overall.
Sophomore Jordan Justice easily handled his opponent from the Comets, taking the set 8-2.
It was a game of service breaks as senior Luke Burrows had a tougher time with his foe but was still victorious 8-6. Burrows only held serve 3 times and had to break his opponent 5 times to come out on top.
Collen Tuerk took the other singles match winning handily 8-0.
Rowan’s 1 seed doubles team of Burrows and Justice improved their regional standing, dispatching the West Carter team 8-1, building on the confidence gained from the EKC win last week. Having played together for the last two years, the duo is beginning to gel and are learning to play to each other’s strengths as they head toward the Region tournament the middle of May.
The Rowan team will compete in the East Carter invitational this Friday and Saturday in Grayson.
Rowan girls tennis team finish runner up in the EKC.
A strong showing by senior Kinsey Eisenhour and junior Kimmi Hedge in singles and doubles teams of Madison Dennis and Katie Bonney and Ayssa Thomas and Emily Baldridge enabled the Rowan girls team to finish second out of eight teams in the EKC tournament Tuesday and Wednesday night at the courts at MSU.
Eisenhour advanced to the semifinals starting with a decisive 8-0 victory over Fairview’s Brianna Schaffer. In the quarterfinals, Eisenhour capitalized on strong volley play to take the victory 8-3. Meeting up with the eventual runner up in the semifinals, Eisenhour lost 8-3.
Rowan girls’ Coach Tammy Collins said, “Kinsey has moved up to the next level in her play. She is mixing up her shots to take advantage of weaknesses in her opponents. Her consistency has improved.”
Kimmi Hedge won 8-6 in her first round match against Raceland’s number one seed Jenna Clark. She then defeated Terra Wireman from Morgan County by the same score to advance to the semi finals. In the semifinals she lost to one of the top girls in the region and eventual EKC champion East Carter’s Maria Hayes.
Contributing to the runner up status, the doubles duo of seniors Thomas and Baldridge drew a bye in the first round and then won 8-3 in their quarterfinals match over West Carter. The other senior team of Dennis and Bonney won in their first round match.
The Rowan girls’ tennis team has five seniors this year: Emily Baldridge, Katie Bonney, Madison Dennis, Kinsey Eisenhour and Alyssa Thomas. The quintet joined the team as 7th graders and have risen in the ranks over the last six years. Coach Collins said, “I am excited to have the experience and the leadership that these five girls bring to court every match.”
The veterans are joined this year by transfer junior Kimmi Hedge who is contributing in singles. Freshmen Lydia Copher and Madison Whitt round out the high schoolers, while 7th graders Natalie Norhtcutt, AnnLynn Bobyack, Chloe Ratliff and Shyann Logan are also competing this year. Collins reports she “has a strong set of underclassman players that will take the lead as the seniors pass the torch at the end of the season”
Rowan girls take West Carter in tennis
Even without four of their top six players, Rowan’s girls’ tennis team managed to take victory on their home court over the West Carter Squad Monday night in high school play, winning 7 matches out of 10.
Seniors Alyssa Thomas and Emily Baldridge led the way, taking victory in the number 1 and 2 seed Singles matches 6-0 and 6-2 respectively. Newcomer 7th grader Natalie Northcutt showed her up and coming skill by holding the number 3 seed, 6-0 and not losing a game to her West Carter opponent. Annlynn Bobyack, also a 7th grade, won a back and forth match at 7-5 in the five spot while fellow rookie Chloe Ratliff only gave up one game in her set, winning 6-1.
In doubles, the Rowan girls split the matches. Seniors Thomas and Baldridge held serve and broke their opponents serve three times to take a 6-0 win.
Then the 7th grade duo of Northcutt and Copher held off West Carter’s number two team to win 6-2.
Play continues this week for the girls at the East Carter invitational this Friday and Saturday in Grayson.