Local netters headed to states

Published 8:25 pm Monday, October 20, 2014

SNOW HILL – Three Roanoke-Chowan area women’s tennis players from the Northeastern Coastal Conference will be holding serve in the NCHSAA 2A state tennis championships this Friday and Saturday at Cary Tennis Park in Cary after the trio were winners in the East Regional’s this past weekend in Snow Hill.

Hertford County High’s Claudia Rowe qualified in singles by advancing to the regional final.

Bertie High’s doubles team of Windy Todd and Lauren Dunlow won their final giving the singles and doubles-team a record of 3-1 for the weekend.

Rowe won her opening round match against first, Samantha Hannah of Ayden-Grifton (6-0, 6-0), then returned on Friday to oust Denise Alencar of North Brunswick (3-6, 6-3, 6-1).

The semi-finals were an all NCC affair as Rowe faced Emily Wilkinson of First Flight.  Rowe would advance to the finals with a straight set win over her Kitty Hawk opponent, 6-4, and 6-1.

The regional final also featured two players from the NCC, but it was Caroline Cowan downing Rowe in straight sets, 6-2, and 6-3.   Of Rowe’s seven losses this season, four have been to Cowan.

Both Rowe and Cowan along with Wilkinson qualified for the states in singles. Rowe will meet Rebecca Lui of NC School of Science & Math in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Bertie duo of Lauren Dunlow and Windy Todd found themselves up against one of the top-ranked teams in the state and one of the four top-seeded doubles teams in the regional.

Ranked the top doubles team in the Northeastern Coastal Conference after claiming the league crown earlier this month, Todd and Dunlow began their quest on Friday when they faced Rachel Jones and Sidney Swindell from nearby North Lenoir. The Falcon ladies triumphed 6-1, 6-4.

Friday afternoon the pair faced a familiar foe in the Currituck second-seeded doubles duo of Sarah Dover and Jayne Fallon and won that match 6-2, 6-2.

“That’s when we started celebrating,” said Bertie coach Jackie Copeland. “That match meant that we had made it to the states because we were one of the four that would advance.”

Saturday’s match would determine their seeding in the states and they also had to play the number-one doubles team from the host school, Greene Central’s Peyton Beamon and Brycen Radford.  The Lady Rams duo had gotten to the quarter-finals with a bye.  Dunlow and Todd lost the match 6-4, 6-4.

“We could have easily won, but that’s the breaks,” said Copeland.

The semi-finals were also a Northeastern Coastal Conference affair as Kate Whichard and Elli Rinehart of Edenton John A. Holmes were next for the Falcons, and Todd and Dunlow prevailed again, 6-4, and 6-4.  The girls had gone 3-1 over the two days.

“We were fighting for the number-three seeding in Cary,” said Copeland. “Third seed means we don’t have to play a number-one seeded team in the first round.”

Instead the pair will open against Abby Rader and Olivia Shaheen of Carrboro.

Copeland said this was an exciting two days for Bertie tennis because it marked the first time in school history that a Falcon tennis team had made it out of the regionals and on to the states.

“We were even cheering for Hertford County (Rowe)”, joked Copeland. “It was fun seeing the Hertford County and the Bertie fans all cheering for one another.”