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DHS tennis opens with win

The Demopolis High tennis team scored a win in its first match of the season Wednesday with a 10-8 victory on the road against 6A Paul Bryant.

“Our effort was very good,” first-year head coach Jeremy Sullivan said. “We were very competitive.”

Demopolis, without top seed Sidney Hill who missed the match due to illness, dropped five of the six matches it played in girls’ singles. Hillary Stapp, playing in the No. 1 slot, picked up the lone win for the ladies with a 10-3 victory. No. 2 Shamoneka Collins lost 11-10 after forcing a tiebreak. Alexa Beach fell 10-8 in hotly-contested battle of No. 3 seeds. Sarah Martin Stapp fell behind 8-1 before rallying to tie the match. She ultimately lost 11-9.

“You could really see our athleticism,” Sullivan said. “We used our athleticism to overcome our weaknesses. I also thought conditioning played a factor because we would fall behind early and then come back and make it close or win.”

Tera Schroeder played out of the fifth spot, falling 11-9. Elizabeth Manning lost her match in the sixth spot.

In boys’ singles, the Tigers took five out of six matches. No. 1 seed Walker McNeill took his match 10-2. Dominique Benison, the Tigers’ No. 2 seed, won 10-5. Third-seeded Neilsen Renner took his match 10-3. No. 4 seed Avery Duckworth fell short in his contest. No. 5 seed Neville Reid picked up a 10-5 win while sixth-seeded Drew Mercer won his match 10-7. Trent Blackwood played an exhibition match, picking up a 6-0 win.

In the girls’ doubles draw, top-seeded team Beach and Hillary Stapp fell 10-7. No. 2 team Collins and Sarah Martin Stapp won 10-8 while No. 3 team Schroeder and Manning won 10-7.

In boys’ doubles, Benison and Renner won 10-2 out of the NO. 1 slot. McNeill and Duckworth won 10-2 out of the No. 2 spot. The third-seeded team of Reid and Blackwood fell 7-10.

While Sullivan praised his team for its effort and composure, he remained even keel in regards to the group’s overall performance.

“I need to see some more competition before I can gauge where we’re at. I think March 7 (against Meridian) will be a big test,” Sullivan said. “I think once we get everybody healthy and well and participating, we’ll be very competitive.”