CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Alex Clay, Hurricane's No. 1 singles player, ended his high school singles career on Schoenbaum Courts on Thursday.
The three-time All-State tennis player lost his Class AAA quarterfinal match of the State Tournament to Martinsburg's Grant Davis, 8-3.
The Class AAA boys and girls tournament continues at 8 a.m. today at the Schoenbaum Courts in Kanawha City.
Clay, a senior, just missed making the all-state tennis team for the fourth consecutive year.
"This is not how I wanted it to end," he said. "I was really trying to get the fourth All-State."
Clay, down a service break at 4-2 against Davis, brought out his big serve and won the game on an epic rally in which he had three overhead smashes.
He switched sides with the score at 4-3.
"I really thought I was going to carry some momentum after that game," Clay said. "I don't know what happened."
Clay lost the next four games.
"I was just outplayed," the senior said.
Davis had his own theory about what happened in the second half of the match.
"Actually, I think that point cleared all the nerves and I settled down," Davis said, "It was a tough match. Alex is a great player."
Davis, who is making his third straight appearance in the semifinals, will move on to play George Washington's Ryan Massinople.
Clay was obviously disappointed, but gracious after the loss.
"It was a good run," he said. "You can't take anything away."
Indeed, it has been a good run for Clay. Four straight state tournament appearances as a singles player are his to keep.
Clay was the No. 1 singles player at Hurricane as a freshman and made it to the semifinals before losing.
He moved down a rung for the Redskins as a sophomore and won the state title at No. 2 singles. As a junior, Clay again made it to the finals of the No. 2 singles tournament before losing to Huntington's Robert Skolik.
"At the No. 2 position, there are just a couple of schools you have to watch out for," Clay said. "At the No. 1 - there's not a bad kid here."
Clay's high school tennis career is not completely over.
He and his doubles partner, Jordan Chapman, won their first-round matchup 8-6 over Wheeling Park's Craig Baranski and Shaun Hunley.
Clay's loss to Davis seemed to be all but a memory at the end of the match with Baranski and Hunley.
Glenna Ragle, who is in her 15th season as Hurricane's coach, was talking to the doubles team after the switch - Hurricane led 7-6 - getting them ready in case the match went to a tiebreaker.
"It doesn't matter," Clay said. "I'm about to serve four to win."
He was wrong. It took five serves.
Clay and Chapman will play Davis and Carter Davis of Martinsburg today in the quarterfinals of the No. 1 doubles tournament.
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GEORGE WASHINGTON'S boys tennis team is in bit of a slump in the state tournament - at least by George Washington's standards.
They haven't won a state title since 2010. However, things are looking up this year.
Third-year Coach Chris Luckett and his Patriots qualified all four singles positions and all three doubles teams.
Even better for the GW, every position moved to today's play, the second of the three-day event.