Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot boys’ tennis prevails at Conway

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot High School tennis teams had mixed results in their final two 7A-Central Conference matches of the regular season, but did have different individuals stand out in each one.

Cabot’s boys’ and girls’ teams each finished 1-3 in the official match scores at Searcy on Monday, with both top singles players in each division making up the two wins. Carly Carpenter dominated her match for the Lady Panthers, winning 8-0, while Clayton Ellis won a hard-fought 9-7 match in the boys’ ranks.

Last Thursday, the Panthers and Lady Panthers played at Conway, and the CHS boys were the team to shine in that one. The Panthers won that match against the Wampus Cats 3-1, while the Lady Panthers lost by that margin.

The No. 2 Cabot boys’ singles player, Max Mathis, won his match over Conway’s Carson Wallace 8-4, andboth of the Cabot boys’ doubles teams dominated.

The CHS teams of Bryant Cason/Turner Bankston and Parker Gibson/Trey Wagnon each won their matches at Conway 8-0. The one win for the Lady Panthers, at least for the official match scores, was a big one.

The No. 2 doubles team of Lauren Roberts and Sadie Lea beat the previously unbeaten Conway team of Andrea Moore and Paten Denton by a narrow 9-7 final.

“The girls played very well against Conway,” said Cabot coach Mary Emily Nash. “My No. 2 doubles team of Lauren Roberts and Sadie Lea – they beat an undefeated Conway team. So, that was pretty impressive. All but one court of boys won.”

Ellis won his match 9-7 on Monday, but lost by that margin last Thursday to Adam Barnett, who’s expected to play tennis at the collegiate level.

“That kid (Barnett) is planning on playing at the collegiate level. It was a really close match. He’s been playing really well the last couple of matches,” Nash said of her top boys’ singles player.

Though they didn’t count toward the official match scores, the Panthers and Lady Panthers had other wins last week at Conway. Nathan Ellis won a pair of singles matches at Conway. He won his first match 6-4 and his second 6-2.

Madeline Chosich was the lone Lady Panther to win her singles match at Conway. She beat Bailey Glover by the final score of 6-0. After Roberts and Lea gave the team of Moore/Denton its lone loss of the season, the team of Carpenter and Ally Bevis won their doubles match 6-2.

Gracie and Olivia New also won their doubles match at Conway, beating the team of Mattie Pham and Tara Bates 6-3.

At Searcy on Monday, besides Clayton Ellis, Bankston was the only other Panther to win a singles match. Again, it didn’t count toward the official match scores, but he won his match 8-4.

The top two Panthers’ doubles teams fell short against the Lions, but the team of Gibson and Cason made sure the CHS boys’ doubles teams didn’t leave White County winless, as they won their doubles match 8-5.

Cason is coming off a weekend where he won the 16-under division of the Fall Classic Junior Open at The Racquet Club in Little Rock.

Cason was one Cabot player that played well Monday, but the group, as a whole, didn’t play up to its capabilities, according to the head coach.

“It wasn’t the match that I’d hoped it would be,” Nash said. “Our net play wasn’t very good across the board. I don’t know if we were rusty after coming off the weekend or what, but we struggled a little bit at the net tonight. There were lots of unforced errors.”

With Monday’s match being the final one of the regular season, the Cabot tennis teams will get a little bit of time off before the 7A-Central Conference Tournament, which is scheduled for Oct. 7-8 at the Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock.

A lot of teams within the league will use that time off to rest up, but Nash plans to use that time to work on some of her teams’ weaknesses.

“Now we have a week and a half before conference to get those things corrected,” Nash said. “I think most people will be taking a break. I’m going to give my kids a couple of days off, but we’re going to try to be a little more on point for the conference tournament than we have been the last couple of matches.”

Play in the conference tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on Oct. 7.