'Clones disrupt Devils

By Matt Hill

   Like taking a huge calculus test, the task for the Elizabethton Cyclone boys and girls tennis teams Tuesday was going to be very challenging.
   The Cyclones have obviously done their homework, as both teams had the right equation for success against a Watauga Conference powerhouse.
   EHS took a big step in ending Unicoi County's stronghold on the Watauga, as the boys and girls teams defeated the Blue Devils in a match held at the Elizabethton High tennis courts.
   The girls defeated the Lady Blue Devils 7-2, while the boys team downed Unicoi 6-3.
   "I'm very pleased with both our boys and girls," EHS head coach Danny O'Quinn said. "It's a victory for both teams, and that should put us on top of the conference. Everyone has told me this was the team, both boys and girls, that we had to beat if we were going to be competitive in this conference. We went out and did it today, so I'm really pleased with the efforts of both the boys and girls."
   The girls team had three straight-set singles wins from Allison Parlier, Kaci Campbell and Hayley Shields.
   Parlier defeated Kimberly Banner 6-3, 6-0, Campbell knocked off Jessica Crews 6-2, 6-4, and Shields defeated Paula Edwards 6-3 7-6 (7-3 in tiebreak.)
   "Their experience showed again," O'Quinn said about those three players. "I'm very pleased with their performance."
   The No. 2 and No. 3 singles matches on the girls side went down to the wire, but the Cyclones pulled through in those as well.
   In the No. 2 singles match, EHS junior Liz Dove defeated Stephanie Nuss 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in a marathon contest.
   There were a lot of long rallies in this match, but Dove hung in there to pull it out.
   "I just try to keep the ball going, and not necessarily hit it as hard as I can," Dove said. "Just make sure my balls go in,"
   Nuss and Dove were playing a very similar style of tennis, which produced some unbelievable rallies.
   "We take from the same teacher," Dove said about ETSU assistant tennis coach Larry Stamm. "He's helped me so much. It's just amazing how much he's helped me."
   Stephanie Schumaier won at No. 3 singles, as she defeated Lucy Hunigan 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
   The Lady Cyclones had a lot to smile about in the No. 1 singles match, even though it didn't quite go their way.
   Unicoi County standout Amber Campbell, the district and regional champion the last two years, defeated Amanda Pike 6-4, 6-1. But Pike, a freshman, showed that Campbell's road to Chattanooga may not be as easy.
   "The competition has gotten better," Campbell said. "It's stepped up since last year. She's a really steady player. She got every ball back. I had to hit that one more ball to finish it off. She was just really strong. I was impressed with her style of playing, also."
   Campbell led 5-2 in the first set before Pike rallied to get the set back on serve at 4-5. Campbell broke Pike in the next game to win the set, and she never looked back.
   "I was playing real well, and I just lost it," Pike said. "I tried hard."
   Pike feels like she gained some valuable experience going up against a seasoned veteran like Campbell.
   "She played very well," Pike said. "I'm so glad I got to play her, because in this conference there's not very many players as good as she is. It was a really good experience for me."
   Pike and Dove teamed up for an 8-2 doubles win over Nuss and Hunigan. Abby Bremer and Jeannie Parker also paired up to win a doubles match for EHS.
   The EHS boys pulled out big singles wins from David Reece, Josh Davis, Weston Peters and Chris Taylor.
   Reece defeated Derek Hess 6-2, 6-3, Davis knocked off Kris Triplett 6-3, 6-1, Peters took down Drew Parsons 6-4, 6-4 and Taylor beat Justin Loyd 6-3, 6-0.
   Reece is Elizabethton's No. 1 boys player, and he played like it against Hess.
   Reece has been taking lessons from former ETSU standout and local country club pro Pete Zannis. Reece believes those lessons have made him successful.
   "He's honed my strokes down perfectly," Reece said. "Even in the windy conditions I can still get it in, because I know what mechanics to focus on."
   Peters, a standout football player for the Cyclones, had a game plan for Parsons.
   "I was just trying to put it in, and make him make his own mistakes," Peters said.
   This is Peters' first year playing for the team, but he has cracked the No. 3 position on the squad.
   "In other years I've played track and baseball," Peters said. "This year I just wanted to give tennis a shot."
   O' Quinn thought Peters and Davis came up big.
   "What I got to see of their matches, they both played extremely well," O' Quinn said. "They moved round and tried to attack their weaknesses. They did a good job of doing that."
   Taylor and Davis defeated Triplett and Loyd 8-3 in doubles to secure the EHS victory. Eric Stout and Devin Johnson put the icing on the cake with an 8-3 doubles win over Josh Mallett and David Seagroves.
   "I'm very proud of all of them," O' Quinn said. "I'm tickled to death. This is a big victory for us."
   The Cyclones will be back in action Thursday afternoon at EHS against the Johnson County Longhorns.