The Lady Bears tuned up for two huge matches by blowing out North Stokes 9-0 in tennis.
Mount Airy has dates with 2A power Salisbury and conference leader Bishop McGuinness in the next two events.
The two-time 1A state champions took care of business against the Lady Vikings, never dropping a single set while winning by a combined 96-16.
North’s Miranda Hammonds briefly held a 3-2 lead against Haley Thomas in the second-seed match.
However, Thomas found her rhythm and ran off 10 straight games to walk off the courts before anyone else. Thomas remains perfect in singles play this season.
Top seed Davi Barbour didn’t drop a single game, but had to battle through some long rallies against Mallie Ziglar for a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Third seed Bree Hughes showed some good ball placement on ground strokes and volleys to defeat Hannah Mabe 6-1, 6-1.
On Court Four, Jai Daniels won 6-0, 6-1 over Nicole Foley. Daniels also was part of a doubles team that won 8-1, giving her daily totals of 20-2.
“Jai has been a huge surprise this year and a great kid,” said Coach Scott Kniskern. “She’s improved greatly.”
“This is Jai’s first year in the top six,” he said. “She moved up several spots from where she was projected to be at the start of the year and has held her spot in challenge matches.”
Fifth seed Carley VanHoy was the second player to finish as she beat Abby Williams 6-0, 6-1.
Sixth seed Bailey Jackson won her first set 6-1 over Emily Myers, but then fell behind 2-3 in the second set before taking the last four games.
In doubles, Thomas and VanHoy defeated Ziglar/Hammonds 8-3.
Barbour and Jackson beat Mabe/Foley 8-1. Hughes and Daniels topped Myers/Brown 8-1
“We were trying to be really prepared,” said Kniskern. North Stokes has shown that it is a pretty good team.
The Vikings have beaten several teams and only lost 7-2 against a powerful Bishop team, he noted.
“I was very happy with how the girls responded,” he said.
“We’re trying to get prepared for Salisbury on Thursday,” he said. Over the past decade, Salisbury has won seven or eight 2A state titles, he pointed out.
In 2011, the Bears dropped only one match and that was a loss to Salisbury.
Kniskern said he believes that losing that match helped strengthen that team and showed them they still had room to improve. He hopes a similar challenge will help
The Bears then get the rematch they’ve wanted for two weeks when they face Bishop next week.
The Bears lost just 5-4 with Thomas out with strep throat. That broke a conference winning streak of 58 or 59 matches, Kniskern said.
With the team back at full strength, the Bears want to show what they can do.