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Vikings sweep conference tournament

Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by Tim Hower
By Tom Grady
Star-News Correspondent

      The Hoggard High School girls tennis team won both the doubles and singles titles at the Mideastern Conference tournament held Thursday at Ashley. 
      McKayla Zupan won the singles championship, defeating New Hanover's Campbell Cooper, 6-1, 6-1.
      The Vikings' doubles team of Anna Hodges and Caitlin Neal won the first set of their match against Greenville Rose 6-2. But it took an extended tiebreaker, with a final score of 11-9, to win the second set and the match. 
      "Coming into the match against Campbell, my goal was to be aggressive and focus on the things I've been working on in practice," Zupan said. "It was definitely confidence-building. It's exciting to see results after all the hard work I've put into it." 
      Hoggard coach Michael Bowen called Zupan a "quality Division I tennis player." 
      "McKayla has really worked on being aggressive and making sure she plays what we call one-two tennis," Bowen said. "When she really has to buckle down, she's just really improved her tactical game." 
      In the doubles match, Neal and Hodges fell behind the Rose team of Gabby Khoury and Emily Clark 5-2 in the second set before rallying back to draw even at 5-5. The set eventually moved to 6-6, forcing the tiebreaker. 
      Hoggard pushed back three set points before finally taking charge. 
      "That was quality tennis," Bowen said. "We could have easily had to go three sets. But we took care of it in two and it's always good if you can take care of it in two." 
      Hoggard won the regular-season conference title with a 5-0 record (7-4 overall), while New Hanover finished in second place with a 4-1 mark (14-3 overall). 
      Every team in the Mideastern Conference will be represented in the individual 4A regionals Oct. 21-22 in Fayetteville. 
      The 4A dual team playoffs start Tuesday. Hoggard will host Roxboro Person and New Hanover will be at Raleigh Broughton.

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