PILOT MOUNTAIN — The East Surry tennis team has encountered rough sailing in the early part of its 2017 season, struggling against several of the area’s top programs. However, the Cardinals are showing progress, taking individual matches even if the depth isn’t there to capture team victories yet.
East Surry dropped its Northwest 1A Conference opener 6-3 against Walkertown on Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals earned victories at No. 4 singles and also won the Nos. 1 and 3 doubles matches. East Surry sophomore Brady Jessup claimed the singles victory, downing the Wolfpack’s Clayton Woody 6-2, 6-1. Jessup also played an important role in another Cardinal team point, joining forces with top-seed Ryan Sigmon to take the No. 1 doubles match, 8-5 over Wesley Briles and Lucas Dickson. Two East Surry freshmen, Nathan Cox and Eli Gray, defeated Walkertown’s Grant Norman and Rich Lyons 8-3 at No. 3 doubles for the other point.
The verdict could have easily gone the other way. Sigmon and Gray, the Cardinals’ No. 6 singles player, both lost match tiebreakers after splitting sets with their opponents. If they had both been able to win the tiebreakers, the Cards would have had the team win.
The day before, East Surry traveled to Surry Central for a battle against the Golden Eagles. Jessup had the team’s only point in this one, outlasting Central’s Alex Burns 3-6, 6-2, (10-7) in a match tiebreaker for the lone Cardinal point. For the Eagles, Brandon Norman, Zane Joplin, Seth Buie, Rodrigo Landaverde and Kevin Montero all scored individual wins, claiming every singles match in order except for Jessup’s victory at No. 4.
Two of the reserve Eagles, Brayden Craddock and Blake Woods, got the call at No. 3 doubles against an East Surry lineup that included No. 6 Gray and reserve Peter Kulsziski, and won.
East Surry will host Mount Airy (10-1) on Tuesday afternoon.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.