Opening its state title defense, the Newton-Conover tennis team made a statement Tuesday.
The Red Devils (21-2) swept visiting Pisgah and only dropped seven of a combined 109 points in those matches. Newton-Conover won 72 of 78 points in its singles matches and 30 of 31 points in doubles matches.
“Pisgah was a wild card team,” said Red Devils’ coach Brian Tate. “We know what is coming up next. That is Salisbury, a team we play in the western finals last year. I’m just trying to get these guys a little more focused. Matches like this don’t feel like a playoff match sometimes.”
Among the impressive performances were from John Reid and Tyler Barrymore.
Both tennis players swept their singles matches 6-0, 6-0. They teamed in doubles to earn a 10-0 sweep against Pisgah’s Jacob Britt and Brian Hall.
“This was a good start for us as a team,” Reid said. “You have to start somewhere. We just need to build on this for our next match against Salisbury.”
Barrymore said the team has its sights set on another 2A title, which would be the first back-to-back boys’ tennis titles in school history.
“This has been our goal all year,” Barrymore said. “We just want to keep going and win two in a row.”
Reid said the longer breaks between matches at the end of the season should help them regroup and take things a little easier than the regular season.
“We get to work in practice and prepare for those next matches,” Reid said. “We do that instead playing two or three matches in a week.”
With an easy sweep over Pisgah, the Red Devils brace for what will be the toughest part of their schedule.
Potential match-ups in the next three rounds include Salisbury, Brevard and Shelby. All three teams rank inside the top five in the 2A rankings.
“The biggest thing we are fighting right now is taking for granted the success we’ve had,” Tate said. “If any of these teams catch us on a bad day, we’ll be done. We can’t assume we are going to make it to the state finals. We have got to prepare mentally before these upcoming matches so we make sure we get there. We can’t come out asleep. The main thing we are fighting is our own success.”
Hang Lak Choi (N-C) def. Michael Slaughter (Pisgah) 6-1, 6-0; John Reid (N-C) def. Hunter King (Pisgah) 6-0, 6-0; Austin Adams (N-C) def. Bramon Aughe (Pisgah) 6-0, 6-2; Ryan Lampe (N-C) def. Jacob Britt (Pisgah) 6-0, 6-1; John Tate (N-C) def. Hunter Wike (Pisgah) 6-1, 6-1; Tyler Barrymore (N-C) def. Brian Hall (Pisgah) 6-0, 6-0.
Choi-Lampe def. King-Aughe 10-0; Adams-Tate def. Slaughter-Blake Owenby (Pisgah) 10-1; Reid-Barrymore def. Britt-Hall 10-0.