The youthful Eastern Alamance men’s tennis squad has gotten off to a solid start to the 2020 season, winning its first two matches over Graham and Northeast Guilford.
Against Graham on March 2, the Eagles came through with a complete effort on their way to a 7-2 victory. Junior Peter Nye was impressive in his opening match, defeating Red Devil No. 1 singles opponent Jorge Flores 6-0, 6-0. EAHS sophomore Caleb Gerlach came through with his own dominant outing on his way to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Graham’s Rayjon Reaves.
The winning ways continued for EAHS in the No. 3 and No. 4 singles matches, as freshman Lamin Nyeekpee defeated Wesley Nguyen of Graham in a dramatic 7-5 tiebreaker, and then a 6-3 win in the second set, while junior Zach Walker knocked off Jason Southiphonh 6-0, 6-0.
Graham got on the board in the No. 5 singles match with a 10-2 tiebreaker victory over Eastern sophomore Ben Hall. After dropping the first set, 3-6, Hall was forced to retire the match early in the second set.
Elijah Lee won the No. 6 singles match for Eastern, defeating Graham’s Caydon White in a tiebreaker. After beating White 6-0 in the opening set, Lee fell 2-6 in the second set. But Lee brought it all together in the tiebreaker, earning a 10-2 win.
EAHS continued its solid play in the doubles matches, as Nye and Nyeekpee defeated Graham 8-2 in the No. 1 doubles match, and Gerlach and Walker won 8-0 in the No. 2 match. The Red Devils got their second point of the match with an 8-2 victory in the No. 3 doubles match.
Two days after the win over Graham, the Eagles defeated Northeast Guilford, 6-3. Although Nye suffered a frustrating 4-6, 4-6 loss to Steven Friel in the No. 1 singles match, the Eagles got singles wins from Gerlach in No. 2 singles 6-0, 6-2, as well as Walker in No. 5 singles (6-2, 6-0) and Hall in No. 5 singles (6-1, 6-4). Northeast Guilford prevailed in No. 3 and No. 6 singles.
With the match tied, 3-3, heading into doubles play, the Eagles were able to take control with a trio of victories. Nye and Nyeekpee defeated Northeast Guilford’s Motief Williams and Nyyira Kpakpo, 8-6, while Gerlach and Walker earned a hard-fought tiebreaker victory over Steven Friel and Steph’an Davis (9-8, 7-4 in tiebreaker). In the No. 3 doubles match, Hall and Lee defeated Northeast Guilford’s Nathan Santiago and Trae Guinyard, 8-3.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, things didn’t go so well when they took on Orange March 5, as the Panthers handed EAHS a 9-0 shutout loss. It was a tough day for the Eagles, as EAHS was shut out in five of the nine matches, and only Gerlach was competitive in his match, as he was defeated by Orange’s Bassem Elbitar, 8-4.
Eastern returns to the court on Wednesday, as they open Mid-State Conference play on the road with a match at Northern Guilford. EAHS will then host Orange on Thursday in Mebane.