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Wolverines ace Rams in NAC 6 opener

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ROLESVILLE — Wakefield’s boys tennis team opened NAC 6 conference play with a dominating 8-1 win at Rolesville on Tuesday.

The Wolverines won all six of their singles matches. Rolesville’s only victory was the No. 2 double match where Nicholas Stewart and Ian Gillen beat Wakefield’s Thi Nguyen and Thomas Utesch.

Wakefield’s Matthew Vu and Alex Carlin both beat their opponent with a clean 6-0, 6-0 sweep. The two sophomores played at the No. 3 and No. 5 spot respectively.

Wakefield’s No. 1 player Joshua Sun defeated Rolesville’s Nathan Stewart 6-0, 7-6. At the No. 2 spot, Sawyer Hanna beat Nicholas Stewart 6-2, 6-2. Ryan Uttridge took down Ian Gillen in the No. 4 match 6-2, 7-5. Finally, Colin Regan defeated Carter Horstmann 6-2, 6-2.

In the doubles portion of the match, Wakefield’s Vu and Carlin won the No. 1 match 8-4 by beating Rolesville’s Nathan Stewart and Brendan Gresham. Nathan Lav and Aiden Badulis defeated Anthony Matula and Horstmann 8-4 in the No. 3 doubles match.

Wakefield only has two seniors on the team and neither of them are starters. The majority of the squad’s players are sophomores. Head coach Ken Stewart said the lack of experience can be both good and bad for his Wolverines.

“These young guys are hungry to learn,” Stewart said. “They put forth a lot of effort. The negative is that they’re all young. I think they’re going to gel and be good.”

Wakefield’s top six players are three sophomores, two freshmen and one junior.

“It’s hard to tell which player is going to be our best this year,” Stewart said. “I’m actually pleased with everybody so far. No one has really stood out, but they’re all really hungry and competitive.”

As for Rolesville, the loss to Wakefield dropped them to 1-4 overall. Head coach Jeanne Pastorius said her team is trying to break out of the middle of the pack this year.

“As a team, we historically have run in the middle of the conference,” Pastorius said. “We can never top over guys like Wakefield and Wake Forest is a real rival for us. The challenge is to make sure we stay strong against our other opponents. We’re learning how to construct points and win them.”

Unlike Wakefield, Rolesville’s roster is full of experience with eight seniors and two juniors. The only sophomore is Nicholas Stewart at the No. 2 spot, whose older brother is Nathan Stewart.

“Our top four is pretty good this year,” Pastorius said. “We had to switch our No. 3 and No. 4 players last year. This season, Brendan Gresham is our No. 3 player and Ian Gillen is No. 4. They’re both really good players. They are a pretty solid front.”

For Wakefield, they are still undefeated at the start of the season with a 2-0 record. The Wolverines beat Millbrook 5-4 at home March 4. Stewart said he knows what his players have to work on after seeing them play in two games.

“I want to see the guys be more athletic and work on their footwork,” Stewart said. “Everyone needs to learn how to serve better. Technically, that’s where we are. Mentally, there’s other things we have to worry about.”

As for Rolesville, Pastorius said the main thing her players need to focus on is serving. They also need to believe that they can win games this year.

“We have to work on our serve,” Pastorius said. “It’s a very technical stroke that we need to develop. We also need to instill confidence in ourselves.”

Wakefield will play at Corinth Holders on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Rolesville will take on Wake Forest at home at the same date and time.

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