One stomach full of cupcakes didn’t nearly come close to derailing a strong Nash Central girls’ tennis team Tuesday afternoon.
Having devoured a number of the sweet treats during her Chemistry class earlier in the day, Nash Central’s Lizzie Eakin was a little worried that she might have eaten her way toward a loss when it came time to face her opponent from Jacksonville in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs.
Instead, Eakin and her teammates were their usual dominant selves in a 6-0 victory against the visitors.
“I was hoping to play a little better, but I was surprised at how fast it went,” said Eakin, who earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory. “I ate a lot of food today and a lot of sweets. I felt a little sluggish.”
Perhaps cupcakes should become the norm for undefeated Nash Central.
The Bulldogs remained perfect for the season (17-0) and they defeated Jacksonville in less than hour.
All six matches were blowouts, and Jacksonville spent more time on its bus (approximately 5 1/2 to 6 hours) than it did on Nash Central’s tennis courts.
Jacksonville came into the contest with 17 victories.
“The girls were ready to come out and play,” Nash Central coach Susan McCarthy said. “It’s tough when you travel almost three hours. Jacksonville’s a stronger team than that. That drive probably wore them out.”
Nash Central will play the winner of the Pikeville Aycock/Erwin Triton match next Tuesday at home.
In between now and then there will be a handful of players including Eakin, Dana Kelly and Randi and Kaley Price and Caley Bass who will compete at the 3-A state singles and doubles championships this weekend in Burlington.
It would seem as if the foursome will play against tougher competition than they have most of the regular season.
Both of Nash Central’s playoffs victories have come by way of shutouts, leaving McCarthy and the Bulldogs to hone their skills as much as possible in practice.
McCarthy said the team plays a lot of match-point situations in practice, and she also shuffles the deck so that players aren’t always hitting with the same teammate.
She draws names out of hat, and the first two selected are teammates.
The next two are their opponents.
“You have to keep things focused and different,” McCarthy said. “You don’t want it to be heavy-competitive, but you want to keep things fresh.”
The Bulldogs are doing anything they can until their matches toughen up. All but one of the top six players are seniors, and the squad is determined to avenge its Eastern Regional loss last season to Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons.
“It would mean a lot,” Kelly said of a victory against Cardinal Gibbons. “We’ve lost to them every year in the playoffs.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org