CFNN Reporter Madisyn Hall
The Cape Fear-Terry Sanford Tennis rivalry has featured intense competition for several years. During the spring of 2021, the Cape Fear Colts were down 2-4 against Terry Sanford, but managed to win all three doubles courts and take the match. This win fueled the Colts during the current fall season.
The two teams met again earlier this season with the Colts coming out on top 5-0 in a non-conference matchup that also helped fuel the rivalry.
Yesterday afternoon, the Colts once again took on the Bulldogs, this time with a bit more on the line. Both teams were fighting for the NCHSAA 3-A East title and the opportunity to play for the NC State Championship.
“It helped that we played them earlier in the season, beating them 5-0,” said Head Coach Chris Lucas. “We knew the game plan on each court; it was just a matter of executing and hoping we weren’t too sore for the next match. Shoutout to Pedialyte!”
Before the match, the Colts performed their new pregame ritual, singing “Get your head in the game,” and ‘Fergalicious,’ followed by fist bumping the “team’s best player” Julia, a doll that the Colts bring to every match. After the ritual, the matches could start.
The match started with singles On court two, Anna Piland faced Mary Anna Stiles. Piland was at her best, winning impressively 6-0,6-1. Shae Bieniek followed suit with an equally impressive 6-1,6-1 win against Hannah Johnson.
“The rivalry definitely adds tremendous pressure to the match, but since we knew we had a good chance to beat them, our girls handled the pressure in the big moments well. This young team is different, they seem to welcome the pressure, and enjoy it,” said Lucas
Brianna Keen won her match 6-1,6-3 against Olivia Stiles. On court four, Andi Brinker played Lauren Zuravel, losing 2-6, 2-6. This left Brooke Bieniek and Madisyn Hall as the last two on the courts. Brooke Bieniek battled against Annie Lieberman and won her first set 6-4. Bieniek lost her second set 2-6, causing a third set tie break. Bieniek rallied tremendously and won the tiebreak convincingly 10-3.
“I was pretty confident that I had a chance to win,” said Bienek after her match. “It was obviously a close match and a tough match, but I felt confident in my abilities and my team’s ability.”
Lastly, on court four, Madisyn Hall took on Sophie Blankenship. Hall dropped the first set 2-6, but pulled through and won the second set 6-2, calling for the team’s 2nd third set tie break of the match. Hall managed to pull out a 10-6 win, locking in the win for the Cape Fear Colts.
Bienek could not hide her excitement after the match. “It feels awesome. Obviously, it’s not one person’s win, it’s an entire team win, she said. I’m glad to help lead and do my best for the team.”
With the majority of the match won, there was no need for doubles. Once Hall’s match was over, all of the Colts stormed the courts to celebrate their victory. The Colts will now head to Burlington on Friday night to get up early Saturday morning and play in the State Championship against Forestview High School from Gastonia.
“Thankfully we know quite a bit about Forestview. We will go over the strategies, practice accordingly and make sure each player is clear on their assigned tactics,” said Lucas of the Colts’ opponent from the west “The girls have handled the big moments so far by singing Party in the USA and Fergalicious before stretching and then turning on their game face after done stretching. I’m assuming they will do the same in Burlington.”