CASSELBERRY— It took some time for Cason Hiers and Zachary Blythe to shake off their early morning slumber on Monday at the Class 2A tennis championships at Red Bug Lake Park.
Maybe it was the mid-morning nap, Hiers said, because after waking up at 8 a.m. and practicing with Blythe for an hour, the tandem went back to the hotel to get a few more hours of sleep.
By 1 p.m., when the Panthers No. 1 doubles team needed to push out to a strong lead against Tampa Jesuit, all they found was a lackluster start.
“When we woke up, we didn’t get up right,” Hiers said. “We struggled for the majority of the first set and were down a couple set points. We were able to overcome it.”
That adversity, however, was the kick the Panthers needed to get back into the match.
Cypress Lake eventually found its rhythm, winning both its doubles matches, then followed with two straight singles wins to earn a 4-0 victory over the Tigers.
The Panthers return to the court at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to face Miami Gulliver Prep in the Class 2A semifinals.
“While we don’t put a lot of emphasis on doubles, I was surprised how well they played,” Cypress Lake coach Sydney Nowak said. “They played really well.”
Hiers and Blythe fought off a first set battle with Jesuit’s James Emslie and Gantt Meredith to win 7-6(6) before responding with a 6-0 win in the second set. Junior Logan Glock and sophomore Jose Camacho followed in the other match against Ramon Martinez and Gunther Mosesmann to win 6-0, 6-1.
“We had heard a lot about this school,” said Hiers, a Catawba signee. “A lot of people were hyping them up. We’re the underdogs and no one knows about it. But we went in there and dominated”
Needing two wins to seal the victory in singles play, Glock took his match against Christian Gonzmart 6-1, 6-0.
He won the matches final 11 points after shaky play to start.
“I got through this mental barrier where I wanted to stay focused and concentrate on my match instead of worrying about everyone elses games. I just concentrated and won the next game.”
From there, Hiers clinched the deciding match by beating Mosesmann 6-2, 6-1.
In the other matches, Nowak said, Blythe was on the verge of winning his No. 1 singles match, while the Panthers’ No. 3, Jose Camacho, was responding with a strong second set. Nolan Nowak, the team’s No. 5 player, battled from a 5-2 deficit to score 11 straight points before Hiers’ win.
“The win today was intense,” Hiers said. “Hopefully it happens again tomorrow.”
Class 2A championships
Cypress Lake 4, Tampa Jesuit 0: 2. Cason Hiers (CL) d. Gunther Mosesmann 6-2, 6-1; 4. Logan Glock (CL) d. Christian Gonzmart 6-1, 6-0; Doubles: 1. Zachary Blythe-Hiers (CL) d. James Emslie-Gantt Meredith 7-6(6), 6-0; 2. Glock-Jose Camacho (CL) d. Ramon Martinez-Mosesmann 6-0, 6-1.