Like the intertwining vertical and horizontal strings of their racquets, Bryson Goolsby and Thomas Lynch's tennis careers are woven together for the common good.
Each of them elevated their games once they reached high school and now the longtime Concord doubles partners are on the verge of their greatest achievement.
With only one regular season loss in doubles play this season, the seniors will be competing for the first time in the 3A Midwest Regionals, being held at Waddell High in Charlotte May 6-7. Three days earlier, the Spiders will open the state dual team playoffs with a first round match.
"A lot of times, personalities clash in doubles teams and a lot of times that's what breaks up a team," said Goolsby. "But I think we're both level-headed. We don't get too emotional. We don't get on each other's nerves. That's probably the reason we stayed together."
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Goolsby has more experience of the two, playing recreationally as he was growing up. But Lynch was the first to make the high school team, landing a reserve role on Concord's team as a freshman.
Lynch first considered baseball as a spring time high school sport but six months before the season started to change his mind and took his first tennis lessons. Goolsby tried out during his ninth-grade year but didn't make the cut.
Goolsby took advantage of the missed opportunity to gain some valuable court time. He and Lynch started working out together prior to their sophomore year in anticipation that they might be paired for the Spiders the next season.
Earning a spot on the team and climbing to the fourth singles flight, Goolsby and Lynch, playing number six singles, partnered as Concord's third seeded doubles team. They say they "won more matches than we lost" but more importantly laid the foundation for better days to come.
Their 2010 season mimicked that of the season before but a highlight of theirs came in Concord's first round state playoff match against West Rowan. Goolsby and Lynch's doubles victory helped the Spiders clinch the match and advance to the second round.
With coach Pam Beecher taking over Concord this season, Goolsby and Lynch wondered if she would break up their partnership. Understanding the importance of consistency, Beecher allowed her seniors to stick together.
The pair lost an early season non-conference match against Mooresville, but breezed through their South Piedmont Conference schedule. Against SPC opponents, Goolsby and Lynch never lost more than three games in the eight-game pro set format.
Like previous years, Goolsby and Lynch chose to try to win this year's conference tournament through the doubles bracket as opposed to playing individually in the singles bracket.
As Concord's number three doubles team, Goolsby and Lynch were not one of the favorites to claim a conference championship. They drew the tournament's second seed and lost to Cox Mill's Sam Xin and Clay Perry in the first round.
Playing the rest of the tournament in the consolation bracket, Goolsby and Lynch won their next two matches, both over teams from Mount Pleasant. In their fourth and final match, against Central Cabarrus' Erich Horner and Justin Morgan, the Concord pair dropped the first set 6-0.
"Towards the end of that set... we were kind of just trying to get to the next set," said Lynch.
"We wanted to save our energy for that next set, knowing we could right the ship. Fortunately we were able to do so."
Goolsby and Lynch won the second set 6-2, then captured a third set tiebreaker 10-7 to clinch a spot in the regionals.
With Goolsby referring to Lynch as "Super Spin" because of his spin-filled stroke and Lynch being equally admiring of Goolsby's volleying ability, the two of them have been both complimentary and complementary of each other during their three years together.