Lady Bears crush Atkins, prepare for Bishop today

Jeff Linville Staff Reporter

September 19, 2013

WINSTON-SALEM — The Lady Bears have a big tennis match today, but they didn’t overlook Atkins, winning 9-0 Tuesday night.

Mount Airy hosts Bishop McGuinness in a battle of the top two teams in the Northwest Conference.

The Bears can either tie for first or concede the league title to the Lady Villains.

Bishop won 5-4 in the first meeting, breaking a conference winning streak of 58 or 59 matches, according to Bear Coach Scott Kniskern.

Kniskern said he didn’t make a big deal of the winning streak at the time because he didn’t want his team to feel bad about it. Second seed Haley Thomas was out sick, and the other girls had to move up a step in competition.

“We want to prove that they can’t beat us at full strength,” said Kniskern.

Even with Thomas out, the Bears nearly pulled out a win.

Carley VanHoy won eight games, but couldn’t quite take a set in a 7-5, 6-3 loss. Abby Hagwood stepped in to the starting lineup and went to a third-set tiebreaker before losing.

And the third doubles team kept it close before falling 10-6, so Kniskern knows his team has what it takes to win.

“I told them I didn’t want to see 6-3 or 7-2,” he said of the final team score. “I might be okay with 8-1.”

If the Bears win today and each team continues to win the rest of the regular-season games, then the teams would be tied for first place.

In that case, the two would have to face off a third time in order to determine seedings for the dual-team state playoffs, the coach pointed out. However, he told his team not to look ahead because they have to win today before any of that is possible.

As for Atkins, the Bears swept singles play 72-0 despite resting sixth seed Bailey Jackson, who was under the weather.

Hagwood filled in and went 6-0, 6-0 over Devika Ghosh.

“Everyone did well,” said Kniskern. “It was a good tuneup for Bishop.”

Top seed Davi Barbour won 6-0, 6-0 over Makenna Mason.

Thomas swept Nikki Blackburn. Bree Hughes blanked Asia Davis. Jai Daniels beat Makalia Upson, and VanHoy defeated Ashley Hill.

Kniskern subbed in a couple of players at the third doubles spot and was pleased to see Emily Pfitzner and Logan King defeat Hill/Ghosh 8-1.

Barbour and Thomas won 8-0 over Mason/Blackburn. Hughes and VanHoy won 8-1 over Davis/Upson.

That made the total games won 96-2 for the Bears, who are actually still ranked first in the state 1A coaches poll, ahead of Gray Stone Day (#2) and Bishop (#3).

Also in this week’s poll, East Wilkes is sixth, North Stokes eighth and Elkin 10th. East Surry is one of three honorable mentions just outside the top 10.