GREENVILLE — A successful 2023 campaign for the Richmond boys’ tennis team came to a close during regional play last week.
The Raiders qualified for the 4A dual team tournament, and seniors Matthew Burns and Ty Murray also punched their ticket to the 4A Mideast regional.
Although neither outcome was what Richmond had hoped for, head coach Jessica Covington said making the postseason was a strong measuring stick for how successful the team was this spring.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” Covington said. “We set out at the start of the season to try and make it to the postseason, something we have been so close to doing in past years. It was a total team effort to get to the dual team playoffs and another big accomplishment for Matthew and Ty to get a chance to play doubles.
“In both regionals, all the boys played awesome,” she said. “We ran into some really tough competition that was very talented and had a lot of depth. But that didn’t stop us from remaining competitive and leaving it all out on the court.”
Sweetening the deal, four Raiders were named to the All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team for the first time in their careers. Joining Burns and Murray were senior Ethan McDonald and sophomore Jordan Jacobs.
The quartet of Richmond players served as the top four singles competitors this season, and paired up to play as the Raiders’ top two doubles teams.
“Seeing all three of our seniors make All-Conference is the perfect ending to their journey,” Covington said. “Ethan, Ty and Matthew have been four-year players who have contributed so much to the growth of our program.
“Jordan has also been a big help in solidifying our singles and doubles rotations the past two years. All of them are so deserving of being All-Conference.”
Last Wednesday, No. 11 Richmond made the trip to Greenville to play No. 6 D.H. Conley High School in the dual team playoffs. The Raiders fell by a final score of 0-9.
Playing the best-of-three sets, No. 3 McDonald was the closest on the board to picking up a singles victory. Facing Watson Davenport, McDonald lost 3-6, 3-6.
No. 1 Murray dropped his match 3-6, 0-6 to Garrett Anderson, No. 2 Burns fell 0-6, 0-6 against Jake Hickey and No. 4 Jacobs came up short 2-6, 1-6 in his bout with Ethan Jones.
Rounding out singles play, No. 5 junior Will Whitley lost 2-6, 0-6 to Tayen Lee and No. 6 junior Brent Humann was defeated by Daniel Park 4-6, 0-6.
The Vikings (11-2) earned three more wins in doubles play. The No. 1 team of Murray and Burns, along with the No. 3 duo of Whitley and Humann both lost 1-8.
Making a run at a victory in the No. 2 match, McDonald and Jacobs were edged late by Davenport and Jones 7-9.
Two days later, Murray and Burns concluded their season in the 4A Mideast regional. Held at the Country Club of North Carolina, they played in a doubles tournament.
Using a random draw format, Murray and Burns were matched with Ved Chotalia and Prajwal Biradar of Panther Creek High School.
The Catamounts’ senior and sophomore duo entered the tournament with an 11-1 record in doubles play in a competitive Southwest Wake Conference and was the No. 1 seed at the 4A Mideast regional.
Murray and Burns wouldn’t go down without a fight in the best-of-three match, coming up short 1-6 and 0-6.
Covington noted “the score wasn’t indicative of the way the two Raiders played” in the final match of their high school career.