HOPE MILLS — The Fighting Scots tennis team pulled off a 5-4 upset against Jack Britt in their conference opener.
The difference between a win or a loss came down to the outcome of the third doubles match, which featured Scots seniors Nyjel Collins-Jackson and Sam Poage. The two were doubles partners last season and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA regional tournament.
Collins-Jackson and Poage took on Jack Britt’s third doubles in the deciding match. Early on, it looked like the Buccaneers would pull off the conference victory as they took a 3-0 lead.
Scots head coach Atondra Ellis talked with her two seniors and told them to get it in gear and stop goofing off. The pep talk worked as Collins-Jackson and Poage buckled down and took the next two sets to make it a 3-2 match.
Mental miscues allowed Jack Britt to take a 4-3 lead as the daylight quickly faded from the courts. The match stretched on until nearly 7 p.m. — three hours after play began.
As the temperature continued to fall, the cold seemed to motivate the Scots as they staged a comeback to tie the match, 8-8 to force a tiebreaker. Collins-Jackson and Poage rallied to win the tiebreaker 7-1 to secure victory for their team.
“It came down to the last match with Sam and Nyjel,” Ellis said. “We were down 3-7 then the comeback started. We tied it 7-7, then took an 8-7 lead before tying it 8-8 — forcing the tiebreaker. We had to use the light from the lacrosse field because it had gotten dark. We then won the tiebreaker, 7-1.”
Nate Dubbs, Hunter Edkins and Nicholas Murphy lost their singles matches while Collins-Jackson, Ryan Phillips and Poage were victorious.
Dubbs lose in straight sets, 0-6, 0-6 at first singles while Edkins fell 3-6 in his first set then 0-6 in the second on the second singles court. Murphy picked up a 6-4 first set win before falling in his final two sets, 4-6 and 8-10 at sixth singles.
Before his marathon doubles match, Collins-Jackson played a marathon third single’s match picking up the three-set victory, 6-6, 11-9, 6-4. Phillips picked up this season where he left off and played his standard three-set match at fourth singles winning the first set, 6-2 before losing 1-6 in the second and rebounding to win 10-3 in the third.
Poage earned a two-set victory in his fifth singles match 6-3, 7-5.
Dubbs and Edkins teamed up to play first doubles and fell to Jack Britt 8-0. Phillips and Jason Kang played second doubles on Wednesday and earned the 8-0 win over the Buccaneers.
The Scots were back in action on Thursday on the road — for the third time this week — in Pembroke to take on Purnell Swett.
The Scots will return home for three matches in as many days next week hosting Hoke on Tuesday, March 13, Seventy-First on March 14 and Pinecrest on March 15.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]