Yellow Jackets ace city rival
Lee County defeated visiting rival Southern Lee 7-2 on the Yellow Jacket tennis courts on a chilly Friday afternoon into evening. It capped a successful opening week of the season for both the Jackets and Cavaliers however.
Southern Lee (1-1, 1-0) started its season on Wednesday with a Cape Fear Valley Conference victory at Western Harnett.
Lee County (2-1, 1-1) fell to Apex 9-0 before winning a 5-4 result at Fuquay-Varina as the Jackets were in action three straight days. The Yellow Jackets are seeking to build on four overall wins and one Tri-Nine Conference win last season.
In Friday’s city rivalry matches, the Jackets swept the doubles contests to start the afternoon. Jared Abell and Cameron Daniels defeated Luke Foushee and Jake Garner 8-3. Ryan Babcock and Michael Soule defeated Severyn Schaller and Jay Randolph 8-4. John Nguyen and Phillip Morie defeated Peyton Wolf and Noe Mexicano 8-6.
In the six singles matches, Foushee won at the No. 1 match, beating Abell 10-5. The second Cavalier point of the day came at No. 4 with Randolph edging Soule 10-8.
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Lee County claimed the victory with Daniels defeating Garner 10-2, Babcock beating Schaller 10-5, Nguyen beating Wolf 10-8 and Morie beating Mexicano 10-1.
“This is definitely a building year for our team,” said Lee County head coach Mary Tatum.
The Yellow Jackets lost seven seniors. Daniels, a sophomore who got two victories on his birthday Friday, is the only returning Jacket to their top six.
Overall though, the sport is growing as a roster of 19 players, with 16 underclassmen, proves it says Tatum.
“These guys are real competitors and I am sure we will surprise a few teams in the Tri-Nine this season,” Tatum said.
Most of the nine matches were highly competitive. On Southern Lee’s side, Schaller, Randolph and Wolf each rallied from big early deficits in their singles matches with Randolph fighting all the way back.
At No. 1, Abell fought part of the way back from a 2-9 score against Foushee, who made the individual regional level of the postseason last spring as a freshman.
“(Foushee) is a very good player and today’s match was a good test for Jared,” Tatum said.
Abell has rejoined the Jackets after missing last season with a wrist injury.
Similarily, Southern Lee head coach Rob Newman was pleased with his Cavs’ effort and desire to compete, especially considering how much of the season is ahead of them.
“I was especially pleased with our win at number one doubles today,” Tatum said. “We have worked on doubles strategy and it paid off today. I really thought that overall, this was a very even match and each court could have gone either way.”
“Our guys played smart tennis and that is what got us the win on all seven courts,” she said.
Lee County travels for a Tri-Nine match at Middle Creek on Monday at 4 p.m. and will host Richmond Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Southern Lee has its home opener Monday at 4:30 p.m. against CFVC foe Westover.