LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots tennis team clinched the No. 2 seed in the Sandhills Athletic Conference with a 7-2 win over Lumberton on Senior Night.
Head coach Atondra Ellis was all smiles as her three doubles teams swept the Pirates to seal the victory for her four seniors — Nyjel Collins-Jackson, Sam Poage, Jason Kang and Ryan Phillips.
All four won their respective matches, before celebrating their final home match.
Collins-Jackson took on Lumberton’s John Floyd on court three winning the first set, 6-2 before giving up some shot and allowing Floyd to win the second set, 6-4. Collins-Jackson nearly lost the tiebreaker, but kept it together to earn the 10-8 win.
Phillips faced off with Jack Cherichella on court four and picked up a two-set win, 7-6, 6-1. It was a similar scene on court five as Poage took on Lumberton’s Quinton Frederick winning in two sets, 6-3, 6-1.
In other singles action, Nicholas Murphy picked up the Scots last singles victory in court six over Lumberton’s Bill Davis, 6-4, 6-2.
Juniors Nate Dubbs and Hunter Edkins both lost their matches to the Pirates. Dubbs took on Lumberton’s Josh Britt in first singles action falling 2-6, 4-6. Edkins played Cole Lewis on court two and lost a close two-set match, 3-6, 5-7.
The Scots swept the doubles courts as Dubbs and Edkins beat Britt and Lewis, 8-4. Collins-Jackson and Poage blanked Floyd and Cherichella, 8-0 and Jason Kang and Phillips completed the sweep with an 8-4 win over Lumberton’s Connor Kinlaw and C.J. Nemeroff.
The four seniors and senior manager Kathryn Goodwin presented Ellis with a signed picture of the team after their victory.
Ellis handed out gifts to each of her graduating players and talked about what a pleasure they’ve been to coach over the last three years.
“You guys have been a fun group,” she said.
The Scots skipper then informed her team they are the highest ranked spring sport at Scotland, in second place in the SAC-8 standings, and are sporting the best record, 11-3 overall and 11-2 in conference play.
That news was met with Collins-Jackson’s signature “Oh yeah!”
Ellis didn’t want her team getting too excited because they still have business to take care of tonight in Rockingham as they close out the season with Richmond.
Clinching the No. 2 seed in the conference guarantees the Fighting Scots a trip to the dual team tournament for the first time in seven years.
The Scots haven’t advanced to the dual team tournament since 2011 under former head coach Jeanne Roller. That year, the team lost to Millbrook in the first round of the tournament, 0-6.
The SAC-8 conference tournament will be held in Lumberton on April 24-25. 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 [email protected]