Devils netters trip 'Horns

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   ERWIN- The match that Johnson County tennis star Adam Cornett played Monday was kind of like a class reunion. Cornett made up for lost time in the final five games of his match with Unicoi County's Derek Hess.
   Cornett rallied from a 5-3 deficit to defeat Hess 8-5 in a boys No. 1 singles match Monday at the Erwin City Park.
   The Unicoi County boys did win the overall match by a total of 7-2. The Lady Blue Devils swept the girls matches, winning 9-0 over the Lady Longhorns.
   Cornett admitted he started slow in a match that featured two of the Watauga Conference's top players.
   "I just wasn't feeling it today," Cornett said. "My serve was a little off and slow. My shots just weren't coming around. You have days like this. I just have to suck it up, and play the next game the best I can."
   Cornett came up with a big break of Hess' serve to even the match at 5-all. Cornett cruised the rest of the way to finish off the comeback.
   "It still wasn't great, but it was coming around a little bit," Cornett said. "I was just using experience to take over."
   Cornett did credit Hess for playing a good match, and believes his competitor has improved since last season.
   "Since the district tournament last year he's done a lot to improve his game," Cornett said. "A lot more confidence and a lot more experience helped him out a lot I believe."
   Cornett has shown improvement since last year as well. He was a District 1-AA finalist a year ago, and looks to be a major threat to get back to that position in May.
   "I'm hoping to go out there and finish the season better than I played today," Cornett said. "Hopefully, I'll be playing in the district final again."
   Johnson County's Jamie Wright gave Kris Triplett a battle Monday, but it was Triplett who ended up with the 8-4 victory.
   Wright is hoping that playing tough competition like Unicoi will help him throughout the season.
   "I believe it will help me," Wright said. "I'm hoping to win a few more games this season."
   Unicoi County's Drew Parsons, Josh Mallett and Brandon Triplett all played well en route to taking singles wins.
   The other Johnson County victory came in No. 2 doubles. In that match, Wright teamed up with Travis McCloud to defeat Brandon Triplett and David Seagroves 9-8 (7-4 in tiebreak)
   Triplett and Seagroves were ahead 7-6 in the eight-game pro set, but Wright and McCloud came back to extend the match and eventually won it.
   "They were playing real good," McCloud said. "We weren't playing so well, but we pulled it out in the end."
   McCloud believes he can build on what happened Monday.
   "This is the first match I've won this year so far," McCloud said. "It's a pretty big boost for me."
   It was a very good day for the Unicoi County girls. Amber Campbell, Lucy Hunigan, Kimberly Banner, Jessica Crews and Paula Edwards all took home singles victories for the Lady Blue Devils.
   The Lady Longhorns' best showing came in No. 1 doubles, as Keri Cornett and Amanda Colvin played a very good match before falling 8-4 to Hunigan and Mallory Foster.
   "We played pretty good," Keri Cornett said. "I'm really good friends with my partner, so we did really good."
   Keri Cornett thinks this Unicoi County team is tough bunch to play.
   "They're pretty good," Cornett said. "You can tell they've practiced. They've gotten better since last year, but I think we've gotten better, too."
   The Longhorns will look to bounce back today at home against Sullivan North.