MANCHESTER—After being disappointed in his team’s recent performance, Coach Aaron Smallwood was pleased with the way his boys defeated Clay Co. 6-3 in tennis action on Monday.

“They gave a much better effort tonight than they have been giving,” Smallwood said. “We also changed our lineup a little bit and used different doubles teams, which both seemed to help. All three matches that Clay Co. won were 8-6 and really could have gone either way.

Blake Walden, playing his first time as the No. 1 seed, fell to Jerrid Neeley, 8-6. “Blake played hard, but came up a little bit short,” Smallwood said. “Jerrid is tough to play against—he’s got good groundstrokes and he uses a lot of top spin. Blake’s match with him was very competitive—much closer than our match against him earlier in the season.”

Abbas Mandviwala downed Jonathan Carmack, 8-3, and Bryant Grimes beat Justin Edmond, 8-6. Clay’s Matt Word beat Michael Stansbury 8-6, but South came back to take the next two singles matches, with Chris Mills and Nick Ellington victorious.

In doubles, the team of Mandviwala and Stansbury beat Emond/Word, 8-4, and Ellington/Mills over Burchell/Neeley, 8-5. Clay’s Carmack/Hoskins downed Grimes/Walden, 8-6.

The girls team lost 6-3 to Clay, with Lyndsay Collette winning her match, 8-6, over Melanie Smith. Brianna Smith and Emily Turner also won their singles matches. Collette and Turner beat Emond and Combs, 8-2, while Victoria Boland and Morgan Brown won over Stivers/Gregory, 6-1.

“Overall, the girls seem to be improving with every match they play,” Smallwood said. “This was a very good showing against one of the top two and maybe the best team in the region.”

Smallwood said that Collette played a great match in beating a quality opponent. “She was frustrated about how the match went with North last week and I felt like she would come out and do well today. Melanie is one of the better players in the region and Lyndsay got her frustrated early on. Lyndsay was up 7-4 and let two straight games get away from her, but at 7-6 she held serve easily to close it out.”

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