Heading into Tuesday’s Big East Conference match, Northern Nash and Nash Central were on the same path.
Both teams had won five matches to start the season before losing for the first time last week.
Win or lose, both teams were going to be heading in different directions.
Northern Nash is just emphatically going back on a winning path after an 8-1 victory at Nash Central High School.
“I told the guys when we got off the bus, ‘Every match we play from now on is a championship match,’” Northern Nash coach Henry Drake said. “That’s how we’ve got prepare for it since the loss to Southern Nash. I think the guys responded really well to that.”
After a five-game winning streak to start the season, including their Big East Conference opener, the Knights (6-1, 2-1 Big East) lost to Southern Nash last week.
Looking to find its way back into the win column, Northern Nash won all six singles matches and the first two completed doubles matches. Its only loss came at No. 1 doubles, a 9-8 (7-4) victory by Nash Central’s pair of Jackson Willis and Robbie Addington.
Northern Nash’s No.1 pair – Tremel Davis and Josiah Marshall – defeated Willis and Addington in singles.
“We came out prepared,” said Davis, a sophomore who jumped from No. 3 singles last year into the No. 1 spot this year. “We came out focused. We came out hitting. We were driving the ball.”
Drake warned his team of Nash Central’s victory against Rocky Mount High last week, and he knew his team needed to be focused.
“We knew coming in that we had to be on our ‘A’ game,” Drake said. “That’s what we brought (Tuesday). I’m pretty pleased.”
While the Knights are headed in the right direction, thanks to the ending of Tuesday’s match, Nash Central (5-2, 1-2) isn’t totally discouraged. Despite losing six singles matches, the Bulldogs were able pull out a much-needed victory in the final match.
“It helped the guys’ spirits,” said first-year coach Zack Clark, who graduated from Rocky Mount in 2005. “Even the guys that weren’t playing, I think they got a little boost from seeing a win at the end.”
Clark was confident his team would rebound from the current two-match losing streak, especially knowing that it upset one of the Big East favorites in the conference opener.
“I think we’ll be able to come back,” Clark said. “I think we’ll do well in the future. I’m happy with the way they played Northern (Nash on Tuesday). They have a great team, and we had a lot of close matches.”
Northern Nash 8
Nash Central 1
Singles: Tremel Davis (NN) def. Jackson Willis, 7-5, 6-1; Matt Outlaw (NN) def. Alex Whitehead, 6-2, 7-5; Josiah Marshall (NN) def. Robbie Addington, 6-0, 6-1; Dylan Jackson (NN) def. Moe Alzer, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4); Bryan Angel (NN) def. Chandler Johnson, 6-2, 6-0; Jacob Kauer (NN) def. Cameron Flora, 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles: Willis/Addington (NC) def. Davis/Marshall, 9-8 (7-4); Outlaw/Johnson (NN) def. Whitehead/Alzer, 8-6; Oliver Adrax/Kauer (NN) def. Marcus Moss/Johnson, 9-7.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org