CORNELIUS – Something old and something new worked wonders for the Hough High girls’ tennis team this fall.
The old is Gabby Moore, a sophomore who won the singles championship at the MECKA 4A conference tournament for the second straight year. She’s entrenched as the conference’s best singles player.
The new is the Huskies’ doubles team of Courtney Carroll and Loriann Bobins. They’d never played together before. Heck, neither was on Hough’s team last season. Coach Alice Hansen saw the connection the duo made early on, tossed them together in doubles and watched chemistry take over.
Carroll and Bobins teamed to win the doubles championship at the MECKA 4A tournament. They, and Moore, will compete in the N.C. 4A Western regional Oct. 18-19 at Hough. The top four doubles teams and singles players will advance to the state tournament.
Carroll, a senior, is a star on the Hough soccer team. She’s from a tennis-playing family but had never played for the school team. Bobins, a sophomore, moved from New York before the school year.
“They have good chemistry and both anticipate the ball well,” Hansen said. “Courtney, with her soccer experience, reacts to the ball really well. Loriann just knew instinctively to move where she needed to be.”
“She (Bobins) makes up for what I can’t do,” Carroll said. “Tennis helps me more with soccer. It’s a different kind of team environment.”
Carroll is quick to credit Bobins’ strong serve. Hansen said their bond has helped form the best team unity she’s had at Hough.
Moore reached the state tournament as a freshman last year, so she didn’t sneak up on any opponents this season. Still, she’s been dominant.
“I’d never played as part of a team before, I’ve just played individually,” Moore said. “The support of the team and me supporting them, I felt like I knew how to do that better this year. The team’s relying on you, but they’re so supportive, you’re not out there alone.”
• Lake Norman Charter’s Hannah Archer was named the Big South 2A/3A conference Tennis Player of the Year. She was 7-0 in conference matches and beat teammate Tiffany Onia 6-1, 6-0 in the finals of the conference tournament. Both Knights earned a spot at the N.C. 2A Western regional Oct. 18-19 at Gardner-Webb.
Lake Norman Charter’s Sravya Uppalapati and Lauren Loveless won the conference doubles title with a 6-1, 6-1 win against teammates Megan Potuzak and Grayson Warren. Both doubles teams advanced to the regional. The Knights, who also qualified for the N.C. 2A dual-team playoffs, have solid contributors in Meghan Thomas, Emily Chrisman, Kendall Hlewicki, Grayson Warren and Megan Potuzak.
• Hough’s volleyball team finished as the MECKA 4A conference champions. The Huskies were 25-1 in the regular season, including 14-0 in conference matches. They opened the conference tournament with a 25-4, 25-10, 25-5 victory against Vance.
The volleyball state playoffs will begin Oct. 19. Conference tournaments will determine playoff seeds.
• The Lake Norman Charter boys cross country teams could be peaking.
Senior Matt Panza ran a school-record 16 minutes, 15 seconds (over 5,000 yards) last weekend at Beeson Park and a 16:20 two weeks ago.
Nathan Kemper, a sophomore, ran a 16:28 at Beeson Park last weekend, good for second in the Freshman/Sophomore race. Stephen Hack, a senior, has steadily improved his time. Sean Powers and Jordan Howlett round out the Knights’ top five.
“They have a tough challenge at the state meet as both N.C. School of Science and Math and Durham School of the Arts have very good teams,” coach Craig Zamiara said.