Rolesville's Jade Houston defeated Wakefield's Bliss Dowden 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match.
Marty Simpkins | The Wake Weekly
Rolesville freshman Sam Lopez won her No. 3 singles match 6-3, 6-4.
Marty Simpkins | The Wake Weekly
By Marty Simpkins | email@example.com
ROLESVILLE — Rolesville’s girls tennis team defeated Wakefield 7-2 at home Wednesday Oct. 2 to split the regular season series and tie with the Wolverines for first place in the NAC 6 conference.
Wakefield beat Rolesville in a tight contest earlier in the year, but the Rams avenged their loss to share the conference title with the Wolverines.
Rolesville head coach Aleksandra Mohar was able to lead her players to their third straight conference title in her first season with the team. However, she made it clear that sharing a conference championship with someone else still doesn’t feel quite right.
“I am very proud of our team for defeating Wakefield and clenching the No. 1 spot,” Mohar said. “However, myself and the team are still getting used to having the idea of a tie for first place. In our opinion, there should not be a tie, rather the ability to play out for No. 1. Last year, there was a three-way tie for first place. That’s half of the conference in fiirst place. So no one was really a conference champ. I feel like the players and teams are getting short-handed in a tie.”
In the win over Wakefield, Rolesville won five of the six singles matches. Jade Houston, Sam Lopez, Camryn Straughn, Ashley Kelly and Isabel Santana all notched big wins for the Rams.
In doubles play, Rolesville won two out of three matches to finish with seven wins overall. Straughn and Lopez won the No. 2 doubles match 8-3 and Malinda Bullock and Kelly won the No. 3 match 8-6.
“The biggest factor was definitely having the right line up,” Mohar said. “It has been difficult to have challenge matches when you can not practice outside due to a Code Black. Our last challenge match before that game was on Aug. 26. The weather finally allowed us to have another challenge match the following week after our loss, where we were able to realign our line up due to our current players ability and have the right line up set for the second half of the season.”
The two most dominant players on the court for Rolesville were Houston and Kelly. Houston defeated Wakefield’s Bliss Dowden 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 1 spot. Kelly took down Katie Kim 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 5 match.
“Every player contributed to our solid win over Wakefield,” Mohar said. “We win and lose as a team. We are constantly challenging each other and supporting everyone’s small victories. We all worked on finding the other opponent’s weaknesses and helped our teammates practice executing the winning hits.”
With the win, both Rolesville and Wakefield finished the regular season 9-1 in the NAC 6 conference. Both of them also finished with nine wins overall. Wake Forest came in second place at 7-7 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Corinth Holders placed right behind them at 9-8 overall and 4-6 in the NAC 6. The NAC 6 conference teams are currently engaging in the conference tournament to see who will win the championship outright. However, both Rolesville and Wakefield will get to compete in the 4A state playoffs no matter who wins the tournament. Mohar said there’s plenty for the girls to work on to prepare for postseason competition.
“We have to keep working on our offense, being aggressive at the net and exploiting our opponent’s weaknesses,” Mohar said. “We have to play wide and play the game of inches. We need to work on our placement, control and power. There’s also staying mentally engaged and positive. I want us to be able to play hit by hit and not get in our own heads. We know that the biggest opponent will always be between our own two ears.”