Lomison sweeps past Jones, Bruce

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY- It looked like at about 9:15 a.m. on Thursday morning that Milligan's Cassie Lomison might have a hard time getting past the first round of the No. 1 flight in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Women's Tennis Tournament.
   Lomison's fortunes soon changed with some bad luck to her opponent.
   Jamie Jones had to default against Lomison in the first round after leading, then Lomison cruised to the finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jessica Bruce of UVA Wise at the Liberty Bell Tennis Center.
   Jones twisted her knee while up 2-0 and 30-all against Lomison in the opening match. Jones was forced to default, and that gave Lomison plenty of rest before her match with Bruce.
   "It kind of stinks the way it happened since she got hurt, but it helped me in the long run I think," Lomison said. "Even if Jones had not been injured, Lomison thought things would have been all right."
   Lomison attributed the slow start to the match beginning so early in the morning.
   "Normally I start out slow in the beginning, because it's in the morning," Lomison said. "I really wasn't awake. It would have taken me a couple of games to come back."
   In the match against Bruce, Lomison kept to her game plan of using good footwork and staying focused.
   "I concentrated on my moving my feet, keeping a high-energy level, and most of all just hitting the shots where they needed to be hit."
   Lomsion will go for the championship this morning against Virginia Intermont's Kago Phatshawne. The Lady Cobra has defeated Lomison twice this year.
   For Lomison, she knows it will take her best effort in order to pull off the upset.
   "I'm going to have to bring my A-plus game," Lomison said. "I'll have to focus more and just focus on hitting it to her weaknesses."
   The other Lady 'Buff that advanced to the finals happened to be Amy Vincent in No. 6 singles. She did it in miraculous fashion.
   Vincent won her semifinal match over King College's Ruth Harrison 6-1, 0-6, 7-5, but that doesn't tell the whole story.
   From the end of the first set until the fourth game of the third set, Vincent had lost nine-straight games.
   Amazingly, Vincent regained her composure and strength to pull the match off.
   "I started out OK in the first set," Vincent said. "Then in the second set I kind of lost energy and that was mainly the big problem. Then I kind of focused more and got it back."
   Vincent thought Harrison was a tough player to play, because she constantly got the ball back.
   "She was very consistent," Vincent said. "She didn't have a special shot. Her forehand wasn't any stronger than her backhand, she didn't have an overhead or anything special like that as a weapon, but she was very consistent. She made me make all my shots."
   Vincent will advance to take on Tonya Stinson in today's finals.
   No Milligan men's player advanced past the first round in singles, but Elizabethton will be represented in the finals.
   Former EHS standout and current Virginia Intermont star Brandon Pike bageled King College's Erik Eariins 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the championship in No. 5 singles.
   All six Virginia Intermont men made the finals. It's a feat that Pike is proud of.
   "I feel that our team is exceptionally strong this year," Pike said. "With the exception of King, we've pretty much led the conference all year."
   As for Pike's love and love performance on Thursday, the senior "This is the last of it. I've got to go out good."
   Pike will play Tennessee Wesleyan's Roman Polescki in the finals, but he has his sights set on other goals.
   "Hopefully, we'll go to the regionals and the nationals," he said.
   * Play will resume today at 9 a.m. If the expected rains come, the tournament will be moved to the Bristol Racquet Club.