LAURINBURG — A win against Pinecrest still eludes the Fighting Scots after a 7-2 loss to the Patriots on Thursday, but a trip to the 4A men’s dual team tournament is within reach.
The Fighting Scots haven’t advanced to the dual team tournament since 2011 under former head coach Jeanne Roller. The Scots lost to Millbrook in the first round of the tournament, 0-6.
Scotland is second in the league at 10-2 behind undefeated Pinecrest, 12-0. Lumberton sits in third place at 7-4 in SAC-8 play, one match ahead of third-place Jack Britt at 7-5.
Over the last several years, the top two teams in the conference have advanced to the dual team tournament. Last season, Lumberton and Pinecrest represented the Southeastern Conference. Lumberton was the No. 14 seed and lost to No. 2 D.H. Conley in the first round, 5-0 while Pinecrest earned the No. 8 seed and lost to No. 10 Garner, 6-3.
If the Scots close out the season with wins over Lumberton and Richmond they will clinch their spot as the No. 2 team in the SAC-8 and will likely advance to the dual team tournament, a first for current head coach Atondra Ellis, who took over the program from Roller in 2014.
Being superstitious, like most coaches, Ellis didn’t want to say anything that might jinx her team.
“First we have to play Lumberton and Richmond because they want to upset us almost as much as we want the win,” Ellis said. “I’m really proud of this team,” she said. “I’ve been with them since their freshman year.”
Four of the Fighting Scots starting seven are seniors — Sam Poage, Nyjel Collins-Jackson, Ryan Phillips and Jason Kang. The Scots other three courts feature two juniors in Nate Dubbs and Hunter Edkins and one sophomore Nicholas Murphy.
The Scots competed in the individual state tournament last season, sending former first singles player Shane Dubbs and current seniors Collins-Jackson and Poage in the doubles. Poage and Collins-Jackson won their first match in the doubles tournament before losing in the second round. Dubbs lost in the first round of singles action.
Seeding for the NCHSAA 4A men’s dual team tournament takes place April 30 and the first round of the tournament begins May 2.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.