Red Devils battle weather, top Blue Devils

Newton-Conover and Maiden battled in men’s tennis Wednesday, but they also fought the elements.

Wind played havoc for many tennis players, as painful looks of frustration layered the courts at Newton-Conover.

“I tell my boys that it is going to be windy in the spring,” said N-C coach Brian Tate. “Maybe not this windy, but this is an exception. I tell them not to use it as an excuse because it is windy for both players. Usually, the players that adjust the best and deal with it come out on top. This is the windiest we’ve ever played in. I’ve never seen it like this. Sometimes you have to deal with the elements.”

Despite weather conditions, athletes fought through them and competed on the tennis court Wednesday.

The Red Devils (12-2, 8-0) took the first three singles games of the match, including two-set victories from Ryan Lampe, Austin Adams and John Reid. Lampe swept his games against Stephen Lichtenwalner. Adams and Reid lost one game each to their Maiden competitors.

Adams said despite the victory, the weather was a major factor during his match.

“The wind made a big difference,” Adams said. “The way you set up is different, and the way the ball will bounce is different. There is a lot of thinking that goes on. I shortened up my shot a little bit. It keeps you from framing the ball a lot.”

Two singles matches lasted more than an hour and a half. Newton-Conover’s Hang Lak Choi battled against Maiden’s Landon Cansler in a match-up of No. 1 players. Red Devils No. 2 Reid and Maiden’s Zack Huffman also tangled in a long match.

Choi fought off Cansler to win a tiebreaker in game one, 7-2. Reid and Huffman fought back-and-forth before Reid gained the upper hand, pulling out a 7-5 victory in set one.

Both competitors carried that momentum into their second sets. Reid was able to distance himself early in his second game to pull out the victory in the match.

Cansler kept things close with Choi in the early stages of their second game, but fell behind late to drop the set and match.

“The wind affected a lot of my stroke,” Choi said. “Landon is good at hitting the ball back. If I didn’t put the ball away, he could hit it all day long. I couldn’t hit a really good shot because the wind kept changing its direction. I had a lot of trouble. All I could do was hit it back and wait until he hit the ball shot. Then I could put it away. That is all I could do against him. He is a really good player.”

The Red Devils continued their strong play into doubles matches, where they earned the sweep on the way to another CVAC tennis victory.

After Wednesday, Newton-Conover has played four of the last five days. Coach Tate thinks playing consecutive games is beneficial to the team.

“I’m not really worried about it,” coach Tate said. “Playing so many matches allows us to play a lot of players and build our depth. That is what I use these matches for. We have two more conference matches, so I will get some more of those guys in.

“Even though we are playing a lot of matches in a row, I will sit some of my starters, just for the fact, to keep them fresh. Once we get into the postseason, we play a lot of back-to-back and individual matches. We have to be ready for that,” coach Tate said.