KNOXVILLE — Blustery winds and cool weather made for some tough tennis conditions on Wednesday, April 6, when Farragut High School and Hardin Valley Academy tangled for a pair of tennis matches at the West Hills Tennis Center but no one was really complaining after the Farragut boys and girls both notched 5-4 victories over the Hawks.
“This is a little tough but it could’ve been a lot worse,” said Hardin Valley senior Eric Boden, who notched an 8-5 victory over Farragut’s Jackson Poindexter at the No. 3 rung on the singles ladder. “When we played this match here last year, it was snowing.
“I don’t particularly like to play in wind like this but I don’t really mind it because gives me the chance to fight through some adversity. It was great to get a win and overall, I felt pretty good.”
The boys match packed plenty of drama. At No.1 singles, Farragut’s Gary Carter outlasted his longtime friend and rival Spencer Chaloux 9-8 (7-5) in a match that went deep into the tie-break set.
“We’re best friends and we’ve known each other since we were about 5 or 6,” said Carter, who reached the Class AAA State Semifinals in 2016 and has a career record of 14-1 against Chaloux. “Spencer played really well and he’s one of the toughest opponents that I see.
“He’s a great player and despite what my record is against him, I know that he’s never going to make things easy for me. We’ve played 15 times and he’s beaten me once but it’s never easy.”
Chaloux had similar sentiments.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I played,” he said. “With the way he plays, the wind was probably affected him a little more than it did me. It was a great match.
“I’ve been playing well recently but today, I just came up a little short.”
The top singles match certainly left both coaches impressed.
“Wow, that was a great match that really could have gone either way with a shot here or a shot there,” Admirals coach Ben Lyle said. “That was just a wonderful match.”
Hawks coach Seth Rayman agreed.
“That is the best pro set high school match that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been doing this for four or five years,” Rayman said. “It was 9-8 (7-5) and that’s as good as it gets in high school tennis.
“That was a great match and it will only make both players better when they get into an elimination draw. They can both draw on what they learned today.”
At No. 2 singles FHS junior Garrett Carter (Gary’s brother) celebrated his 17th birthday with an 8-2 win over Josh Ott.
“It feels good to come in here and get a win on my birthday,” Garrett Carter said. “I was hitting the ball a little harder than he was.
“The wind is a big factor and he came in thinking that he was going to beat me, but I just played my game.”
At No, 4 singles, Farragut’s Jerry Zhou downed Derek Ott 8-4. At No. 5, the Admirals (4-1, 3-1) picked up a win from Davis Luna edged Preston Young 9-7.
HVA’s Brandon Chu routed Zach Collins 8-0.
“It’s always a tough match,” Chu said. “He made me work hard.”
Hardin Valley’s boys (4-2 overall, 2-2 in the district) won two of the three doubles matches.
Farragut also notched a 5-4 victory in the girls match. The Admirals claimed two of the three doubles matches.
At No. 1 singles, Farragut’s Hannah Price defeated Sophia Cui 8-3 in a match that both players said was closer than the final score would indicate.
“We had some great rallies and we had some long points,” Price said. “This match was probably closer than the score. We had great rallies and I wasn’t like we were missing the ball and always had to stop.”
Cui was pleased with her effort in the match.
“I feel like I played well,” Cui said. “She’s a great player and I look forward to maybe playing her again. Most of these games went to deuce.”
At No. 2 singles Maggie Kohlbusch of HVA (1-5, 1-3) outlasted Emily Keeling 8-6. Hardin Valley picked up wins at No. 3 and No.4 singles. At No. 3, Ella Goulding edged Riley Woody 9-8 (9-7) and at No. 4, Meriah Senegoles outlasted Megan McNeil 9-8 (7-4).
Farragut freshmen Payton Todd and Priya Nangia picked up wins at No. 5 and No. 6 singles respectively. Todd edged Savana Joyeuse 8-6 and Nangia outlasted Nicole Maestri 9-7.