EAST BEND — The young Surry Central tennis team has earned a shot at possibly taking a Western Piedmont Athletic Conference title, just a season after graduating nearly its entire starting lineup.
The Golden Eagles needed to get past one more league rival before earning a rematch with WPAC leader West Stokes, who edged Central 5-4 in King on March 28. The Wildcats are unbeaten in conference play, and that setback is Central’s lone loss in the league. After the Eagles dismissed Forbush 7-2 on Tuesday, they will get another chance on Thursday, this time in Dobson, and a victory will move them into a tie for first place.
Surry Central (7-4 overall, 5-1 WPAC) took care of business early on. The Eagles took five of the six singles matches and already had the team win before the doubles ever got under way. The Falcons’ Lance Kennedy and Matt Wilhelm swept the No. 1 doubles from Central’s Zane Joplin and Seth Buie, but the other two doubles matches went decisively to the Eagles.
In the singles, No. 1 seed Brandon Norman had to play a set tiebreaker in his second set, but outlasted Kennedy 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Joplin lost 6-0, 6-1 to Wilhelm at No. 2, but Central won the rest of the singles matches. Buie beat Peyton Eldridge 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in another close match at No. 3 singles, but Alex Burns rolled 6-0, 6-3 over Jaeden Gaye in the showdown of fourth seeds.
Rodrigo Landaverde had a tough match with Forbush’s Seth Anderson at No. 5 singles. Anderson actually won the first set in a tiebreaker, but Landaverde fought back and eventually prevailed in a match tiebreaker, 6-7, 6-3, (10-9). Kevin Montero rounded out the victory with a 7-6, 6-2 win over Alex Pena.
In the No. 2 doubles, Norman and Montero defeated Eldridge and Anderson 8-3, and in the third doubles, Burns and Landaverde were 8-4 victors over Gaye and Pena.