Surry Central’s tennis team can’t afford another slip-up in its pursuit of a Western Piedmont Athletic Conference, and the Golden Eagles made sure it didn’t happen on Thursday afternoon.
Central, which is tied for second place in the league behind West Stokes after a 5-4 setback to the Wildcats last week, won its third match in a row, completing a season sweep of county and league rival North Surry with an 8-1 victory. The Eagles (5-3, 3-1 WPAC) have lost just one individual match in their winning streak.
The Greyhounds earned their only victory at No. 1 singles, where North Surry’s Wesley Nichols avenged an embarrassing double-bagel loss to Zach Cochran back on March 22 with a third-set tiebreaker win. Cochran managed to win the first set of the rematch 6-3, but Nichols bounced back with a 6-4 victory in the second set, and then held off his foe to win the tiebreaker set 10-8. Nichols was the only Hound to win a set on Thursday.
However, the match was already decided by the time that the No. 1 singles was completed. Central won the other five singles matches. Cole Leonard downed Alex Jones 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2; Tanner Mears outlasted Austin York in the second set for a 6-2, 7-5 victory at No. 3; Jose Montero defeated John Smith 6-0, 6-4; and Brandon Norman prevailed 6-1, 6-1 over Barrett Slate at No. 5.
There was an open question at No. 6, where the Eagles’ Austin Sale and North’s John Nichols met each other for the second time this season. Nichols had earned the Hounds’ lone point in their match with Central a month ago, beating Sale in a tiebreaker set. This time, he put up a fight but Sale avenged the loss with a 6-3, 6-4 straight-set victory.
The only one of the three doubles matches that was close came at No. 3, where Mears and Sale edged past York and Slate, 9-8. At No. 1, Cochran and Montero beat Jones and Smith 8-4. Leonard and Norman topped Wesley Nichols and John Nichols 8-3 at No. 2.
An exhibition doubles match was contested on a separate part of the tennis complex, where Seth Buie and Zane Joplin earned an 8-7 victory. This outcome was not included in the team totals.
The win helps the Golden Eagles keep pace in what is shaping up as a three-horse race in the Western Piedmont 2-A. West Stokes leads the circuit at 7-1, 4-0, but the Wildcats’ first place is based on a pair of 5-4 victories over Central and Forbush, both of whom are 3-1 in league action. A strong performance next week for Surry Central could send the Eagles right back into the driver’s seat for no worse than a share of the conference crown. They visit Forbush (5-2-1, 3-1) for a doubleheader on Tuesday (the teams were rained out of a scheduled March 24 meeting), and then host West Stokes two days later.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.