Despite losing the first set and a blown out shoe in the second set, Rowan County doubles team of senior Luke Burrows and sophomore Jordan Justice earned a spot in the 2019 KY state tennis tournament.
In the quarter finals the Vikings faced the Russell team with a chance to advance to the semis Tuesday night.
Rowan faced this same duo in the first round of the EKC earlier this year in Morehead, winning 8-5 and eventually going on to win the EKC.
Russell was out to avenge that loss and as has been the case all year, Rowan started slow, getting behind 0-2 early in the first set. A break and a hold by Justice evened the set at 2, but the green and white only managed to win one more game in the first set and lost 3-6.
Each team held serve in the first two games of the second set.
In the 3rd game, the Viking tandem had Russell up two game points, but Russell got it to deuce. It was a battle through 6 deuces but Justice held serve and Rowan went up 2-1.
On that momentum, they broke Russell twice. Burrows held serve and they expanded the lead to 5-1. Surviving a service break, they forced a tiebreaker by winning that set 6-2. Good play at the net and strong serving allowed them to come back. Burrows had to change shoes when the sole of his drag foot separated at the toe while serving after that win.
The Rowan boys, started the tiebreaker to ten strong, going up 2-0 on a break and a hold.
Russell started a come back and tied it 2-2 but the Viking pair never looked back, never trailed and won 5 straight points eventually winning the set 10-4.
“They have made it interesting all year”said Rowan coach Mark Kidd. “But with the experience of going to state last year, and playing from behind this year, they were able to overcome the deficit and get a chance to compete at the next level”
In the semis later that night, Ashland number two seeded doubles team took Rowan to task winning 6-1, 6-0.
Rowan will compete in the state tournament in Lexington May 30-June 1.