Cyclone netters flourish in match with Volunteer

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   Curtis Brumit's much-anticipated high school tennis debut was well worth the wait.
   The promising freshman won his first prep match Tuesday in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Volunteer High School's Justin Ivory at the Elizabethton High Tennis Center.
   Overall, the Cyclone boys were leading their Watauga Conference opener 4-1 when the rain came right around sunset. The Lady Cyclones held a 4-0 advantage when play was stopped.
   Brumit's match was finished way before the bad weather came. In fact, it was done before most of the other players were even finished with the first set.
   Brumit, who is considered to be the most talented freshman to come to Elizabethton since the days of Brandon Pike, wanted to make a good first impression.
   "I figured it would be better if I win first," Brumit said. "That way I won't be down, and I won't be feeling bad for all my other matches."
   Brumit is playing No. 2 for the Cyclones, and top-seeded David Reece feels the freshman's arrival will spell only big things for the Cyclones this year.
   "We look to make some damage in the conference this year," Reece said.
   Reece won his match 6-3, 6-0 over Andy Clark, but he still sees room for improvement.
   "I wouldn't say I'm pleased," Reece said. "Luckily, I was able to uncork on a few serves to keep me in the match. But I got a little flustered for awhile, and really couldn't get going. I finally got some momentum during the second set."
   Another freshman, Jordan Peters, also came up big in his first-ever high school match by winning 6-4, 6-3 over Volunteer's Jon Vaughn at the No. 5 spot.
   Peters is following in his brother's footsteps, as the now graduated Weston Peters was a District champion in doubles last year. Peters is taking it one step at a time.
   "This is my first year playing," Peters said. "I'm just trying to do the best that I can."
   Devin Johnson also took home a victory on Tuesday in a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Roshan Patel.
   On the girls side, it was a showdown between two of the elite players in the Watauga Conference, with the Lady Cyclones' Amanda Pike going up against Volunteer's Morgan Smith.
   In the end, it was Pike that came up victorious in a 7-6, (7-4 in tiebreak) 7-5 thriller.
   Pike lost a very close match to the extremely athletic Smith last year at EHS, but the Cyclones' top player seems to be getting more mentally tough in matches as tight as this one.
   "I was very mentally tough today," Pike said. "I missed a few really easy shots, but then I started thinking about the wind and where I should place the ball. I knew I just had to get the ball in play and see what happens.
   "I'm really excited. I'm so glad I won. It was a long match. It was very good, too."
   It was a bright day for newcomer Erin Rodgers as well, as she defeated Michelle Archer 7-5, 6-1 to win her first high school tennis match.
   Rodgers and the Lady Cyclones lost to Dobyns-Bennett on Monday 9-0, so she was more than ready to get back on the court.
   "Yesterday was really good practice," Rodgers said. "We all tried our best. That was a good warm-up for today. I felt a lot better about today. I was more prepared.
   EHS' No. 2 seed, Liz Dove, also was anxious to get back on to the court after the D-B loss. Dove won 6-0, 6-4 over Jennifer Jones.
   "Yesterday was bad," Dove said. "We looked at it like as like a practice. We learned from it and it was a good experience for us, because we really needed to play some good competition."
   Elizabethton's Allison Parlier continued her strong play, as she took a 6-1, 7-5 win over Stacy Hurd.
   The match will be completed at a later date, but the Cyclones were about ready to wrap up both the boys and girls sections when the weather turned bad.
   "I was very happy with the overall performance of both teams today," O'Quinn said.