By Andrew Stark
Will Roberson knew how much was at stake in the waning moments of his match on March 9. Covenant Day was playing N.C. Independent School Athletic Association stalwart Providence Day – a team the Lions had never defeated – and the pressure was mounting.
In that moment, with the score tied 4-4 and all eyes fixated on Roberson’s No. 1 singles match, he delivered a straight-set win and the Lions’ first-ever victory over the Chargers.
But those types of performances were nothing new to Covenant Day or their star senior.
“The highlight was probably beating Providence Day,” Roberson said. “That was incredible. I really enjoyed the pressure of being the last match and I think I thrived in it.”
Roberson thrived in more than just one match, going 10-1 as the Lions’ top singles player and undefeated as their top doubles player.
In addition, Roberson led the Lions to an undefeated regular season and the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A NCISAA tournament, while earning all-state honors for the second consecutive season.
Roberson can now add the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2013 Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s Boys Tennis Player of the Year title to his list of accomplishments.
“Going 16-0 was amazing,” said Roberson, who is a Queens University of Charlotte signee. “But it’s hard to think of one specific moment as the highlight because everything was so great.”
With Roberson leading the way, the Lions were nearly unstoppable. In addition to beating Providence Day, they also topped Country Day, 7-2, for their first-ever win against the Bucs.
For good measure, the Lions added another win over Country Day, this time in the second round of the state playoffs – and in decisive 9-0 fashion. In that win, Roberson avenged his only loss of the season by defeating the Bucs’ Will Turner, serving as further validation of how astonishing the season was for Roberson and his teammates.
Although their run was ultimately cut short by Cary Academy in the state semifinals, all wasn’t lost on a remarkable season for the Lions and Roberson.
“I don’t know how to put it into words,” Roberson said of his team’s ascension. “If you would have told me even last year that we’d be the No. 1 seed in the tournament, go undefeated and have this kind of year, I wouldn’t have believed you at all.”
But Roberson helped make it all possible.
“It was really an amazing year,” he said. “We set our goal as playing on the last day of the season. Although we didn’t do that, we did so much together.
“It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was great that my senior year everything fell into place and we did as well as we did. I think it was the best season ever.”