DOBSON — Surry Central edged East Surry 5-4 in tennis, thanks to a big contribution from the bottom half of the lineup.
The Lady Cardinals took the top three matches, but the Lady Eagles took the fourth, fifth and sixth spots to tie the score 3-3 going into doubles.
Then the home team took two of three doubles matches for the win.
“I was pleased with the way they play,” said Central Coach Dennis Miller. He said he knew that it would be really hard to beat East Surry, and he emphasized to the players before the match that they would have to be focused and play their best.
East Surry got the first team point of the match when Central’s Kennedy Dockery pulled an abdominal muscle and was forced to withdraw. Miller said he believed Kennedy was ahead of Haley Manuel 3-2 at that time.
East’s Tiffany King took the top spot 6-2, 6-1 over Marlee Wilmoth.
Central got its first point when sixth seed Cassie Hoge beat Michela Coppola 6-1, 6-1.
The Eagles made it 2-2 when fourth seed Mikayla Cox came back from an early deficit to beat Allie Hawks 6-3, 7-5. Hawks led 2-1 in the first set before Cox took three straight game for a 4-2 lead.
That left the third and fifth seeds playing two marathon matches in heat up in the mid-80s.
After two hours of play, East’s Brooke Tickle beat Sommer Chilton in the third set.
At the start, Miller said, “Sommer was struggling hard and just kept hanging in there.”
Tickle won the first set 6-4, but Chilton forced a tiebreaker in the second frame and pulled out the 7-6 (8-6) win.
Chilton is just a sophomore, but she showed good resolve, according to the coach.
However, the East senior took control in the third set, winning 10-3 to give East a 3-2 advantage.
Central fifth seed Mallory Wilmoth beat Mikayla Manuel 6-4, 7-5 to tie the match 3-3.
With Dockery out, that hurt Central’s strong doubles team of Dockery/Cox.
Instead, Cox played with Mallory Wilmoth for the first time ever.
They fell way behind early, as they were feeling each other out, but came back strong before losing 10-8 to King and Hawks, according to Miller.
At the top spot, Marlee Wilmoth and Chilton won 10-6 over Haley Manuel and Tickle.
The deciding factor was the third doubles match where Hoge was teamed with Olivia Fowler due to the Dockery injury.
Hoge and Fowler won 10-8 over Mikayla Manuel and Coppola for the 5-4 win.
It was a very close match throughout, said East Coach David Kidd.
“I know they were disappointed to lose because it was their first loss, but I was proud of them anyway,” he said. With it being the first day of school, it wasn’t easy to focus on tennis.
East Surry travels to North Stokes today. Surry Central will play at Starmount on Wednesday.