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The Maiden Blue Devils had a tall and tough task Tuesday facing talented Salisbury. They came up short.
â€śI feel like we were just beaten by a better team,â€ť Maiden coach Jon Huffman said. â€śOur kids played well, and I am proud of the effort they showed out there, but Salisbury is just very, very good. Our kids knew that coming in.â€ť
The Hornets swept the Blue Devils in singles and doubles Tuesday at Maiden to win 9-0 in the second round of the 2-A state tennis dual-team tennis tournament. Tuesdayâ€™s match was a rematch of the 2009 2-A West region final when the Hornets defeated the Blue Devils 5-1 in November 2009 at Salisbury. Huffman joked last yearâ€™s match was much more fun being in the state semifinals.
â€śWe knew when we came down here we would have to hit a lot of balls and run a lot,â€ť Salisbury coach Chris Myers said. â€śCoach Huffmanâ€™s teams are always very, very competitive, and that was certainly evident out here. Every time you play Maiden, you know you are in for a tough one.â€ť
The loss, however, was seen as a learning opportunity for players returning to the Blue Devilsâ€™ team in 2011.
â€śOne thing I stressed to our younger kids is that I wanted them to watch Salisbury play,â€ť Huffman said. â€śHopefully our program can get to that level because that is a good model to push for.â€ť
Salisbury is the two-time defending state champion, ranked No. 1 in the state coaches poll, and has won three state championships in the past five years. The Hornets in 2010 also have six players â€” two singles and two doubles teams â€” qualify for the 2-A state meet this weekend in Cary.
The Hornets won every match Tuesday in straight sets, but Blue Devils Kaylyn Key and Cinderella Yang pushed their opponents in the top-two singles matches. Yang lost the first set 6-1 to Erika Nelson, but she rallied to a 4-4 tie in the second set. She lost the last two games for a 6-1, 6-4 loss.
â€śThe second set, I really tried my best,â€ť Yang said. â€śI felt like I really wanted it and wanted to win it. The team needed it, and I know the team was counting on me. All I could do was play my best. It was fun.â€ť
Yang was the only Maiden player to win a singles match in the 2009 team match
In the top singles match, Salisburyâ€™s Joy Loeblein won 6-3, 6-2 against Key. Key and Yang were the only Maiden players to win more than two games in their two-set matches.
â€śBoth of those kids as seniors had great years,â€ť Huffman said. â€śIâ€™m especially proud of those two kids, but Iâ€™m proud of all the other girls too.â€ť
Maiden won two games in two of the remaining four matches and only one in the other two.View more articles in: