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Match report: Cape Henry 6, Norfolk Collegiate 3

It's not always easy to carve out enough time to take in a high school match, but last Thursday (March 30) we made it out to Old Dominion University to check out two of the top teams in Hampton Roads, Cape Henry and Norfolk Collegiate. It's even harder to find the time to write up what we witnessed during men's and women's basketball's Final Four weekend (How 'bout dem Gamecocks!).

But now that the hoops have calmed down....

Cape Henry 6, Norfolk Collegiate 3

Key to victory - In freshmen fraternal twins Alexey and Boris Lunin and senior Andrew Roberts, the Dolphins have three dominant No. 1-caliber performers. The top two doubles teams of the Lunin brothers and Roberts and Flynn Somers are also formidable. So that's five team points - enough to lock down a victory - right there. To beat the Dolphins, a team must have the depth to sweep the matches at the bottom of the order and enough front-line talent to steal one or two points from Cape Henry's Big Three in singles or at No. 1/2 doubles. To their credit, the senior-laden Oaks come closer than most to having this type of team. But on this day, the Dolphins still had too much firepower in the majority of the matches. The Oaks will get another chance quickly - these teams meet again Friday at Cape Henry.

Five-star matchup - At No. 1 singles, Davidson-bound senior Alex Loope of Norfolk Collegiate out dueled freshman sensation Alexey Lunin 7-6 (5), 6-4. It was Lunin's first loss of the season after three victories in third-set tiebreaks. It was also the Dolphins' first loss in 12 singles matches so far this season involving either one of the Lunins or Roberts.

As the score suggests, both Loope and Lunin had opportunities to prevail. The lefthanded Lunin is a spectacular shotmaker and scored with several breathtaking winners, including one where he appeared to misjudge an overhead, then whirled around and smacked a high backhand for a ridiculously angled winner. Loope has a pretty potent arsenal too, though, and the fact that he was a bit steadier, particularly deep in the sets, was probably the difference.

"I just wanted to stay consistent, kind of wait him out," Loope said. "When he's hitting winners, you just kind of shrug 'em off because you know they're going to come. And a lot of times, they tend to come in waves."

For the complete match-by-match results, visit our Facebook page.

Records

Cape Henry improved to 4-0 while continuing to successfully navigate through a rigorous schedule. The Dolphins' resume also includes 5-4 victories over the Collegiate School (Richmond) and Norfolk Academy and a 6-3 decision over the Potomac School.

Norfolk Collegiate is now 2-2.

Break points

- It's hard to overstate the impact on the already well-stocked Dolphins of arrival of the talented Lunins, who previously had been living - and training - in California during the school year. It's kind of like if the Golden State Warriors had not just added Kevin Durant, but also brought in Russell Westbrook, too.

- Norfolk Collegiate battled through its first four matches, including Thursday's, without senior Trafton Addison, who is expected to play No. 2 or No. 3. Addision scored the male lead in Cape Henry's production of "Legally Blonde." The play kicked off its three-day run Friday, and Addison was expected to trade in his greasepaint for a tennis racket beginning Monday. By the way, if anyone wants to e-mail us a review of Addison's performance, we'd appreciate it. We loved "Legally Blonde."

- Cape Henry's not the most vocal, rah-rah team we've seen. In fact, they may be the least. The team's youth probably factors into this - the Lunins are obviously new to high school tennis, Somers is a freshman and No. 5 Luca Bezada is a sophomore. Also, coach John Hill, who seems to be a fine guy and obviously knows what he's doing, isn't exactly Dickie V when it comes to commentary. But it may simply come down to this - when your rackets speak as loudly as the ones wielded by these Dolphins, there's probably not much else to say.

- Norfolk Collegiate debuted its new team jerseys Thursday. The players and first-year coach James Moskowitz insisted there was no Tar Heel bias involved, but the color sure looked like "Carolina blue" to us, especially with that "NC" logo plastered on the front.

- The Oaks have eight seniors, and with Addison back in the fold can now feature an all-senior top six. The goal is to return to the VISSA Division II state final - a year ago, the Oaks lost the title match to North Cross - and this time take that final step.

"I feel like it's our time," Loope said.

Norfolk Collegiate also has several up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores, and Moskowitz hasn't hesitated to work them into the lineup. So while this year's team features a win-now collection of veterans, the program's future appears to be in decent shape, too.

Next up

Cape Henry will have another heavyweight encounter with Norfolk Academy on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Cape Henry. Norfolk Collegiate visited Nansemond-Suffolk Monday and, as mentioned earlier, will visit Cape Henry on Friday.

Friendly reminder - Coaches, remember to promptly forward your scores to our Facebook page. We can't keep track of this stuff without you.








Comments

  1. Excellent article! Great coverage of Norfolk Collegiate, we(parents) deeply appreciate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. But seriously, how was the play?

      Delete

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