WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County men’s tennis team opened the season with a pair of tough losses to Watauga and East Wilkes, two of the better teams Ashe will face all season.
Watauga beat Ashe by an 8-1 score on Monday. The Pioneers are expected to be one of the top 4A teams in the state this year.
On Tuesday, Ashe had its first home match against East Wilkes. The Cardinals were able to sweep the Huskies, 9-0.
“Both of these teams are conference leaders so I felt good about our play given our limited court time due to the weather,” said Ashe County head coach Larry Dix.
Ashe brought back four seeded players from last season, but after that, everyone else is young and inexperienced.
The Huskies also had to play without top seed Noah Gouge yesterday, moving everybody up a spot in the seeding order.
In the battle of number one seeds, East Wilkes’ Landon Osborne beat Andrew Shepherd in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.
Second seeded Kyle Rhodes beat Ashe’s Jacob Key, 6-0, 6-1 and third seeded Joah Logan beat Simon Houck, 6-4, 6-0.
In the fourth seeded match, Nick Woodredge got the best of Dakin Christoferson, 6-4, 6-2. Christoferson played as a sophomore but did not play last season for Ashe.
The final singles matches both went to the Cardinals. Andrew Sales beat freshman Carter Wilson, 6-1, 6-1 and Josiah Sparks knocked off Caleb Cooper, 6-0, 6-2.
East Wilkes capped off the sweep by winning all three doubles matches.
“We need more court time and work on consistency and not making as many unforced errors,” said Dix. “I think we have a lot of talented players and with hard work, we will have a good season.”
Ashe will host Avery on Monday and travel to West Wilkes on Tuesday.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87