NEA grabs second

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2005

WILSON – An old country school that practices on a mere two tennis courts.

They practiced mostly doubles to allow 10 team members to get in work, but they won in both singles and doubles to the amazement of some and the satisfaction of their long-time coach.

Northeast Academy finished as runners-up in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association’s Class 1-A tennis tournament at the Barton College facility, the best the Eagles could hope for considering the dominance of Statesville Christian School. Statesville, a school with a reputation for gathering the best athletes available, is moving to class 2-A next year.

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&uot;Whatever we got, we certainly earned the first day,&uot; NEA skipper Jake Campbell said. &uot;All six of our singles got byes and then won their opening matches.&uot;

The coach said he was pleased with the lesson the Lady Eagles learned.

&uot;Everybody contributed,&uot; he said. &uot;It shows the kids if you stay with a program and don’t quit or give up, you get rewarded.&uot;

Northeast had the opportunity to claim 18 points in the first day of play and brought home 16 of them, placing six singles players and two doubles teams in the semifinals.

Saturday, the Eagles earned four more points, enough to garner second place, thanks in part to both doubles’ teams earning a trip to the finals.

&uot;My number one doubles team played really well,&uot; Campbell said of seniors Lyndal Brown and Laura Boone. &uot;They did and the number three doubles team as well.&uot;

That team is comprised of senior Chelsea Davis and junior Brittany Wade. Those two also reached the finals.

Boone and Brown knocked off Catherine Woodard and Becillor in the semifinals by a count of 6-4 and 6-1 before falling in the finals to Statesville Christian’s Kathryn Talbert and Drew Burgiss.

Wade and Davis made the finals by easily dismissing the team of Dehoff and Dobrun, 6-1 and 6-2. In the finals they met Ali Burgiss and Essary and fell 6-0, 6-2.

In singles action, two of the Lady Eagles earned their way to the finals.

Sixth seeded Brittany Wade dominated Johnson in the semifinals, winning by a count of 6-0 and 6-1, before falling to Essary in the finals by counts of 6-2 and 6-3.

Fifth seeded Betty Edwards played one of the finest matches of the championships, going more than two hours in a 6-3, 7-5 win over Core in the semifinals. She fell to Ali Burgiss in the finals.

The other four Northeast Academy singles players all fell during their semifinal match. Brown was the closest to pulling the upset as she fell to number two seed Woodard, 7-6 and 6-1. Also falling in the semis were Boone, Allyson Cashwell and Samantha Cook.

&uot;This is the best team top to bottom I’ve ever coached,&uot; Campbell said. &uot;It’s probably the best team the county has ever had.&uot;

Campbell said his seniors – Brown, Boone, Cook and Davis – were important in making Northeast tennis successful.

&uot;Lyndal and Laura have played one and two for me for two or three years,&uot; he said. &uot;Lyndal has been in the top six since her freshman year and Laura since her sophomore year. Everything we’ve done has been around them.

&uot;Lyndal and Laura have pulled the others along and our younger players have contributed too,&uot; he added.

The coach said he knew Statesville Christian would be an insurmountable task, but wasn’t sure what other teams would be strong. He said wins over Greenfield and Faith Christian gave him confidence, but he didn’t know Covenant Day was as good as they were.

&uot;I expected to do well when we came,&uot; he said. &uot;We did about what I thought we could do.&uot;

The coach said he was very pleased with the success Wade and Edwards had.

&uot;They will battle you,&uot; he said.

The season ended as the most successful in the 10-plus years of the program. The 2005 team won 16 matches, up from the previous high of 12 and finished second in the state, up from a previous high of fifth.