CHAPEL HILL — East Chapel Hill used to have Broughton’s number.
The Wildcat girls’ tennis team eliminated Broughton from the 2007 and 2008 NCHSAA dual-team tournaments. And East was the last team to beat Broughton before its 2011 loss to Grimsley in the NCHSAA finals.
But things have changed since then. In fact, things have changed considerably from the start of the 2013 season, when Broughton was ranked No. 1 and East Chapel Hill was No. 2 in the weekly poll of the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association. The Wildcats tumbled to No. 7 after back-to-back losses three days apart to No. 5 Lake Norman and then-No. 3 Panther Creek.
The still-No. 1 Caps – 91-1 since 2009 – brought their current streak to 36 straight wins, 12-0 this season with three wins in three days: 8-1 against Wakefield on Tuesday, 7-2 Wednesday at East Chapel Hill, and 9-0 Thursday versus Enloe.
“The legacy is part of our program now, and we feel some pressure to continue it,” Broughton coach Laura Davidson said.
It’s safe to say that Wednesday’s 7-2 win at East Chapel Hill was little surprise to anyone, including the Wildcats, despite their ranking or their history.
“They’re so good,” East Chapel Hill coach Lindsey Linker said of Broughton. “They’re just at another level from anyone else.”
Broughton had the team victory clinched after singles, with Maggie Kane, Kara Summerford, Olivia King, Hunter Cox and Alison Austin all winning in straight sets. The five lost just 11 games during the match, and almost half of those came in Cox’s 6-0, 7-5 win against Joselyn Reckford at No. 5 singles.
“Broughton is still one of the best teams in the state, obviously” said Meghana Holegadde, East’s No. 3 singles player. “There’s some pressure in playing them, but since we aren’t ranked as high, it’s really a matter of just getting out there and playing your best and trying to have some fun.”
The lone bright spot in singles for East Chapel Hill (12-4) was sophomore Iskra Joksimovic on court No. 4, who edged Broughton’s Ann Taylor Hinton, 6-4, 4-6, 10-7.
Holegadde-Joksimovic also won at No. 2 doubles, 8-6 over Austin-Summerford.
Kane-King and Hinton-Cox both won their doubles, 8-1, for Broughton.
Kane’s 6-2, 6-0 victory over Caroline Pope helped alleviate some of the emotion felt after losing just her second match ever in varsity play. Kane, a high school all-American who lost once as a ninth-grader, fell 3-6, 6-4 (10-8) to junior Susanne Boyd during Tuesday’s 8-1 team win against Wakefield.
“I think it’s a good thing in a lot of sports to have a short memory,” Kane said after improving her varsity singles record to 52-2 Wednesday.
Kane said she and the rest of the Caps tried never to let any individual loss bother them.
“Our real goal is to win every match, so we do our best to just take them one at a time,” Kane said.
But some opponents are more equal than others, Davidson said.
“Our players are very focused on trying to win another (a 12th) state championship, but we’ve got a lot of great opponents coming up on our schedule,” Davidson said, citing No. No. 3 Green Hope on Sept. 27 and No. 2 Panther Creek on Oct. 4. “Just in the Cap-8 we’ve got to play Millbrook, Wakefield and Sanderson and others.
Millbrook is No. 9 in the latest NCHSTCA poll, while Sanderson is unranked but receiving votes.