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Tennis Looks Toward Sumter After GWU Loss

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 02/27/2013
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Freshman Jayla Scott had the longest singles match of the day at No. 3. She lost to Gardner-Webb's Yasmin Doost, 6-2, 6-0. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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GREENSBORO - On average, it happens four times. For freshman Jayla Scott, it's six. In order for the North Carolina A&T women's tennis team to be successful and qualify for the MEAC tournament for the first time since 2010, it needs to be eight.

Those are the number of strokes needed to routinely win a point on the Division I level, according to head coach James Dunwoody. No one consistently reached that number on Wednesday afternoon as the Aggies lost to Gardner-Webb 6-0 at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center.

Not being able to create long rallies this season has led to an 0-6 start for the Aggies.   

"It's not easy, but you have to commit," said Dunwoody about creating long rallies. "Once you get into a back-and-forth, then you attack them. Right now, we're not mentally strong enough to get to eight strokes. We're breaking down at four; some of us are breaking down at six."

Scott was among the players who did have longer rallies. Her No. 3 singles match against sophomore England native Yasmin Doost lasted longer than any other singles match. Scott rallied with Doost on several points, forcing her into a few errors. She also charged the net on two separate occasions, which seemed to frustrate Doost. But Scott's powerful forehand was too powerful at times, helping Doost win in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.

"I don't want anyone coming away thinking it is not okay to hit with power," said Dunwoody. "Sometimes it is okay. But there are some cases where you want to roll it back to build up your rallies. We must put our opponents in a situation where we're wearing them down. The only way to wear your opponent down is to make them hit a lot of balls."

Despite Scott's loss, Dunwoody was pleased with her effort along the output from No. 2 singles player Kimberly Stalling. Stalling, a junior out of Wilmington, N.C., lost in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. But with his No. 1 singles player, Kenya Colbert, out for the season with a ruptured ACL, and with three freshmen playing among his top six, effort is how Dunwoody must measure his team at this point in the season.

After playing at Fayetteville State on Thursday, Dunwoody hopes his eight-stroke approach and the effort of his young ladies can lead them to victory in Sumter, S.C.  While in South Carolina, A&T will play four MEAC foes. A&T will leave on Saturday and open the foursome of matches against Savannah State at 10 a.m., on Sunday. Four hours later, they will face Florida A&M. The matches will continue on Monday against S.C. State and Bethune-Cookman at 10 a.m., and 3 p.m., respectively.

A successful Sumter trip will help the Aggies finish among the top four teams in the MEAC Southern Division, which will qualify them for the MEAC Tennis Tournament, April 18-21.

The Aggies have been preparing for this moment by switching their practice to 5 a.m., three days a week,  in an effort to build up their cardio. It takes a lot of strokes to play the style Dunwoody wants. When the season began, he wasn't satisfied with his team's level of conditioning, adding that there was no commitment to get in shape over the Christmas break.  

" Once I realized the conditioning was off, we came up with a whole new cardio workout to make sure they can stay on the court and grind," said Dunwoody. "Competition is very stiff outside the conference, and it is getting stiffer inside the conference. The young ladies have to make up their minds that they are going to play harder, so we can get some victories because we're looking forward to going down to Sumter and winning."

Gardner-Webb University 6, North Carolina A&T 0
Feb 27, 2013 at Greensboro, N.C.

Singles competition

1. Erica White (GWU) def. AUSTIN,Victorea (NCAT) 6-0, 6-0

2. Jenny Lunde (GWU) def. STALLING,Kimberly (NCAT) 6-0, 6-0

3. Yasmin Doost (GWU) def. SCOTT,Jayla (NCAT) 6-2, 6-0

4. Valeria Popko (GWU) def. BURRAGE,April (NCAT) 6-0, 6-0

5. Rokia Sacko (GWU) def. PERKINS,Shaunasie (NCAT) 6-0, 6-0

Doubles competition

1. Erica White/Jenny Lunde (GWU) def. STALLING,Kimberly/AUSTIN,Victorea (NCAT) 8-0

2. Yasmin Doost/Rokia Sacko (GWU) def. BURRAGE,April/SCOTT,Jayla (NCAT) 8-1

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