First Posted: 1/15/2009
St. Pauls swats Red Springs in Tri-Six action
Shane Mettlen-Staff writer
RED SPRINGS - The St. Pauls girls' tennis team has some lofty aspirations this season and it didn't take long to figure out why Thursday night. The Bulldogs continued their dominance of the Tri-Six Conference with an 8-1 victory over Red Springs.
The lone St. Pauls loss came when No. 4 seed Tameka Hammonds had to retire from her match with the Red Devils' Courtney Hunt for unspecified reasons.
The forfeit didn't turn out to be a problem for St. Pauls (4-0), which cruised to victory, winning the rest of the matches in straight sets. No. 3 seed Kelly Fields had perhaps the most impressive victory for the Bulldogs, defeating Amber Mitchell 6-0, 6-0 to remain undefeated. St. Pauls' No. 1 seed, Ashley Walters, took out the Devil's Shara Brown 6-1, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Jamie Hughes beat Danyelle Carter 6-1, 6-0. Lashanda Jones defeated Shahita Smith 6-2, 6-2 in the matchup of No. 4 seeds to pick up her first singles victory of the year, while No. 5 seed Courtney Woodall finished off Keyshonde Murray 6-1, 6-1.
St. Pauls coach Ray Musselwhite said he was pleased with the way his team performed, winning its 38th straight Tri-Six contest. But the coach has goals beyond the league contests, as he anticipates at least his top three players qualifying for the Class 2-A state championships.
“Jamie Hughes is a powerhouse,” Musselwhite said, noting that she had spent some time as the team's No. 1 seed earlier in the year. “She'll probably end up back at No. 1 before season's end, and that's not taking anything away from Ashley. With Kelly, I don't think there are a lot of No. 2 seeds around that could beat her.”
The Bulldogs depth has put Musselwhite in an enviable position.
“We've got 10 girls on the squad,” he said. “And we have 10 girls anxious to play tennis, not just fill spots. It's good when you have competition within the team. When you've got people pushing each other to be better, that's great.”
It's been a tougher season so far for Red Springs coach Linda Lewis. Due to poor weather and personnel problems, the Devils (0-2) have only had about two weeks of practice so far.
“The girls have a lot of potential,” Lewis said. “But getting a late start at practice we just really haven't been able to get it together. The girls need to really get more serious. Tomorrow we're going to sit down and really have a serious meeting.”
The Bulldogs will get back on the court Tuesday when they play host to Clinton. Red Springs' next contest is also Tuesday at West Bladen.