CENTENARY — Despite taking both of the doubles matches in a tennis match with Gallia Academy, the Panthers couldn’t quite pull off a match victory on the road as Gallia Academy edged Clay, 3-2, in what was a season-opening tennis victory for the Blue Devils.
The Panthers’ pair of points came with straight-set sweeps of the doubles duels, which were the final two matches to be completed, and kept the match close with the much larger and more experienced Blue Devils’ unit, which consisted of four men and five ladies — with the class breakdown being four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.
Clay, however, overcame that experience to take home both of the doubles matches on the evening. Hunter Armstrong and Taylor Pack grabbed a 7-5, 6-2 win over Gallia Academy’s Olivia Meadows and Katie Carpenter in the first doubles matchup, and Regan Osborn and Savannah Moore followed by mustering a 6-2, 6-1 sweep over MiKayla Edelmann and Kirsten Hesson in the second doubles pairing.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Gallia Academy battled back. The Blue Devils’ two juniors, newcomer Miguel Velasco and returnee Pierce Wilcoxon, won their respective contests at first and second singles, while Miles Cornwell followed by doing the same in the third singles matchup.
Velasco swept Portsmouth Clay senior Nate Hinze 6-4, 6-0 at first singles, while Wilcoxon claimed a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over freshman Gage Keller at second singles. Cornwell, the only senior Blue Devil boy and the club’s captain, captured a 6-4, 7-5 third-singles sweep over junior Garrett Stone.
In the process, Gallia Academy handed Clay its first loss, as the Panthers swept Unioto and Portsmouth West by 5-0 margins in their opening two matches this week.
Clay returned to action on Thursday at Mound Park as the Panthers played New Boston in a conference affair. Gallia Academy traveled to Unioto on Thursday for another non-league match.