ELKIN — Mount Airy’s attempt to repeat as dual-team champions ended here as Elkin edged the Bears 5-4.
Mount Airy captured 1A titles by beating Hendersonville in 2009 and the N.C. School of Science in Math in 2010.
With a young team (only one senior), Mount Airy failed to capture first in the conference for the first time in recent years. The team was looking for new life in the playoffs, but fell in the second round after knocking off East Wilkes last week.
These two teams met on March 22 with the Elks taking four of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches. It was the only doubles loss of the regular season for Mitch Kessler.
“Entering today’s match, we were hoping to reverse some earlier losses and advance in the state playoffs,” assistant coach Rodney Pell said after the match. “In singles, Elkin took an early 2-0 lead with victories at the numbers five and six.”
Elkin five-seed Ashton Gant beat Robert Blizard 6-2, 6-0, while sixth-seed David Bullins pitched a shutout at 6-0, 6-0 over Blake Hensley.
Next to finish was the fourth-seed match as Elkin’s Jerimiah Morrison beat Jordan Lawson 6-1, 6-2.
The Bears needed to win the top three singles matches for a realistic chance of taking the match.
Mitch Kessler finished the season undefeated in singles play by defeating Charlie Neaves in the second-seed match 6-2, 6-1.
“At the number one, Matt Kessler was up 3-2 in both sets before dropping a 4-6, 4-6 decision,” said Pell.
In the March 22 meeting, Kessler was up 8-5 in the third-set tiebreaker before Tyler Macy rallied to win 10-8.
“Eric Belton kept the Bears in contention for a team victory with a 7-5, 7-6 (9-7) win,” the assistant said. Mount Airy needed to win all three doubles matches to advance.
“Mount Airy took the number-one doubles at 10-5,” said Pell, as Matt Kessler and Belton topped Macy/Morrison.
“The team match was decided when the Elks won the number-three doubles match,” he said. Gant and Coley McCullogh beat Blizard and Will Pfitzner, 10-2.
In the second spot, Mitch Kessler and Lawson beat Neaves and Reece 8-6, but the Bears’ season was over with a 14-5 record.
Three Bears are still in contention for a state title in individual play this weekend. Matches for 1A start at 9 a.m. at the Cary Tennis Center.
Matt Kessler is the second seed from the West in an eight-man bracket. He faces Joseph Bannerman, Pender, in the first round. If he wins, he would face the winner of Ben Brewer-Bowman, Hendersonville, and Russell Turner, N.C. School of Science and Math, in the semifinals Friday afternoon.
Elkin’s Macy takes on Tom Stainback, Ayden-Grifton, on the other side of the bracket. Bishop McGuinness’ Naveed Foroudi takes on Kevin Huang, N.C. School of Science and Math.
Mitch Kessler and Belton are seeded third for the West in the doubles bracket. They take on Dunham/Deloatch, Raleigh Charter, in the quarterfinals.
The top duo moves on to face the winner of Kirkland/Colhoun, Hendersonville, and Harden/Wu, N.C. School of Science and Math.
Contact Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1920.