Mount Airy swept North Stokes 6-0 to advance out of the first round of the 1A state dual-team tennis playoffs.
The Lady Bears took all six singles matches in straight sets to secure the team win, and the coaches decided not to bother with doubles play and risk player injury.
Fourth-seeded Haley Thomas rushed through her match with Hannah Mabe, winning 6-0, 6-0.
The junior has won all of her singles matches on the year. Last season in her first year on the team, Thomas won every singles match all the way to the state final in Cary. She then avenged that loss by taking doubles to clinch the team win.
Top seed Jordan Jackson hasn’t lost a conference match since her freshman year, sweeping all her Northwest opponents for the past three seasons.
She also took care of business briskly with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Rebecca Gunter.
Bree Hughes was the third Bear to sweep her opponent, taking down Brittany Foley 6-0, 6-0.
Carley VanHoy was next to finish, winning 6-0, 6-1 over North Stokes’ sixth seed.
The second and third seeds were still playing, so the four players and their teammates gathered outside the fence to cheer them on.
Bree’s sister Jade Hughes defeated Miranda Hammonds 6-1, 6-1 in the third-seed match.
Second seed Davi Barbour had the toughest battle of the night. She won the first set 6-1 over Mallie Ziglar, but Ziglar put up a fight in the next set. Barbour won that one 6-4.
Coach Scott Kniskern said that North Stokes Coach Julian McKenzie has been flirting with retirement after more than 20 years of coaching, and Kniskern hated to be the one to send Coach Mac home.
McKenzie has coached six teams to be state dual-team champions. His team was ranked sixth in the most-recent 1A coaches poll.
The Bears, ranked first in the poll all season, next Tuesday will host Lake Norman Charter, the seventh-ranked squad.
If Mount Airy advances, the team will face the winner of Hendersonville and Chatham Central. Elkin was swept out of the playoffs 6-0 by Chatham Central.
Bishop McGuinness, ranked fourth in the poll, edged East Montgomery 5-4 and will face fifth-ranked East Wilkes, which had a first-round bye.