Lady Cyclone tennis takes frustration out with sweep over Unicoi County

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Danielle Vines in her usual convincing fashion won both of her matches on Tuesday at home against Sullivan South, but there was one thing that happened Tuesday that upset her and that was the Lady Cyclones not winning the team match.

Vines and the Lady Cyclones took all their frustrations out on Unicoi County on Wednesday.

The Lady Cyclones dropped just two games in singles and Vines lost just one point in her 6-0 victory against Abby Hensley as the Lady Cyclones won 9-0 in the team match against the Lady Devils in a District 1-A/AA contest at the Elizabethton High Tennis Complex.

The Lady Cyclones also received an 8-1 win for Carole Sweeley over Hannah McKinney, an 8-1 victory for Eliana Rangel over Carson Moore, a 6-0 triumph for Jordan Teague over Ali Giovanneli a 6-0 win for Rachel Peters against Taylor Thomas in singles. In doubles Abby Bryan and Caitlyn Gardner won 8-1 over Hensley and McKinney and Carmen Spoviero and Annie Street won 8-5 over Moore and Giovanneli in doubles.

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EHS won No. 6 singles and and No. 3 doubles by forfeit.

Vines has done it all at EHS, including two-straight state singles championships and an undefeated record in what is now her third season playing tennis. There is one thing missing from her resume and that is a trip to the state tournament as a team, something the EHS girls have not done since the 2002 season.

One silver lining for Vines about the South match is that even though it is against two conference teams, it’s still a non-conference match meaning it is no strike against them in trying to get to the region.

Elizabethton lost 5-4 on Tuesday, but that is a little misleading because it was 5-1 after the singles and the match was over when they got to the doubles. Vines looked like someone on a mission as she was avoiding a double fault away from taking a golden set, where you win every point in a set.

“We had a tough loss against South,” said Vines. “We need a little more experience as a team, but when we play them again it will count for conference, and I think we will do a little bit better then and play a little different strategy on some of the courts. It was really close, it was 5-4. If we can maintain the doubles wins and get a few more wins in singles we can take them and win the conference.

“They have a lot of athletic girls on the team who aren’t beginners and have played some matches before and know how to strategize a point,” Vines added. “They play the way our girls don’t want them to play. It’s tough for us, but I think if we get a little bit more momentum going into it, I think we can definitely maybe surprise them. It was good to play in one match that was basically a scrimmage and see how they play and where they put their girls in the lineup and maybe adjust a little bit for next time.”

South was not on Vines’ mind heading into Wednesday. It was Unicoi County who traditionally has been a thorn in the side of the Lady Cyclones and probably more so on the boys side and has halted their trips to the region several times. However, this is a different kind of Unicoi County team that doesn’t have players like Amber Campbell or Mallory Jackson and all the top notch players who have came through the program for over a decade.

The rivalry though is still there between Unicoi County and Elizabethton in tennis and in almost every sport, and Vines was very happy to get a win over an arch-rival.

“We do have a little rivalry between Elizabethton and Unicoi County going on,” said Vines. “It feels good to win.

The Elizabethton boys were not as fortunate, losing a heartbreaker by a score of 5-4 in a match that came down to No. 3 doubles.

In that match, Unicoi County’s Trent Treadway and Daniel Campbell rallied from a 6-3 deficit to win 8-6 over Adam Cornett and Garrett Barnett to clinch the match for the Blue Devils and sent Elizabethton to back-to-back defeats.

To show just how big the rivalry is between Elizabethton and Unicoi County, after the Devils won on match point, Treadway bear-hugged Campbell, and it almost resembled the emotion that professional tennis player Mike and Bob Bryan show one and other when they are playing their pro matches..

Of course, the Cyclones would never have been in that situation had it not been for a thrilling 9-8 (10-8 in tiebreak) win for Zeb Moore over Dalton Spears, where Moore did not play his best but found a way to win.

The Moore win set up that doubles match for the title, but Moore was glad to pull through on not one of his best days.

“That’s not my usual plan to go into a tiebreak, and I feel confident in my game, but today nothing seemed to be going my way,” Moore said. “I didn’t feel confident. I knew if I was going to come back and win, I was going to have to play my game.”

Moore did play his game and though it was ugly, the result was a good one.

“I won,” said Moore.

It was a great day for foreign exchange student Daniel Raposo-Sanchez, who won 8-3 in singles to Christian Leon and and 6-0 in doubles to Spears/Leon with partner Moore.
“Today, I went out there and played,” said Raposo Sanchez. “We always have things we need to work on, and we go out there and work on it.”
Unicoi was able to get an 8-4 win from Gabe Whitson over Blaye Davis, an 8-1 win for Sam Murrillo over Tre McCrary, an 8-5 triumph for Trent Treadway against Garrett Barnett and an 8-5 doubles win for Whitson and Murillo over Davis and McCrary.
Adam Cornett recorded a 6-0 shutout at No. 6 singles against Daniel Campbell for the Cyclones’ other victory.
The Cyclones and Lady Cyclones will now go on Spring Break before playing Avery County, NC on April 4 and then will have the big showdown in Colonial Heights against Sullivan South on April 5.