This incarnation of the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference has come down to its last few weeks of girls’ tennis, and it appears as if Surry Central will end the era in the same way that it began.
Day one of the WPAC tournament at North Surry High School was dominated by the Lady Eagles, who went 40-0 in dual-team conference matches during the current realignment cycle, and who have three of the four entries in today’s finals.
Central’s Sarah Marion will be playing for the singles championship, while the doubles final is an all-Surry Central affair, with the Lady Eagles’ Sarah Wyble and Hope Hinson taking on teammates Anna Senter and Hannah Pardue for the conference crown.
Senter and Pardue, who were the Lady Eagles’ No. 2 doubles team all season, actually got a bad draw for the tournament and ended up having to win an extra match to reach the finals. The duo took on Mollie Hennings and Monlea George, Forbush’s No. 3 doubles team, in a preliminary-round match played to a single set of eight games. They won that match 8-0 and then entered the eight-team bracket. Their opener was against North Surry’s top doubles team of Cassidy Willard and Cassie Barker. They won this match 6-2, 6-4 and advanced to the semifinals, where South Stokes’ Hannah King and Hannah Fisher had advanced with a win over a team representing West Stokes. This was the Lady Sauras’ No. 1 team as well, but it didn’t faze Senter and Pardue, who prevailed 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final.
Wyble and Hinson had been unbeatable in league play against the conference’s best doubles teams, and the fact that their teammates were busy sending two of them packing made life a little simpler for the Lady Eagles’ top team. They downed Forbush’s No. 1 team of Stephanie Swain and Alyssa Southern 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals and then got a little bit of a tussle from North Surry’s No. 2 doubles team of Katherine Parsons and Emily Smith, beating them 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final.
Parsons and Smith had advanced to the semifinals by downing Anna Brown and Caroline Cook of West Stokes 6-1, 6-0 in a quarterfinal match. They will face King and Fisher in a third-place match today.
Marion was the Lady Eagles’ No. 4 singles player during the regular season, but was excellent out of that slot, posting a 14-1 record in which her only loss came in a match tiebreaker to a player from the state’s top-ranked 1A team. With all of Central’s other top five singles players choosing to compete in the doubles, Marion took a shot at winning the WPAC’s individual singles title.
She began the tournament against Emma Nichols of host North Surry. Nichols was able to hold her own, but fell 6-4, 6-3 as Marion moved into the semifinals. Her opponent there was Natalie Hughes of West Stokes, who had advanced with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Rachel Dixon of Forbush. Hughes was the Lady Wildcats’ No. 2 singles player during the regular season, but Marion beat her 6-4, 6-0 for a spot in the finals.
Central’s Haily Robertson also played in the singles tournament. Robertson, the Lady Eagles’ No. 6 during the season, drew Stephanie Henry, West Stokes’ top player, in her quarterfinal, and lost 6-2, 6-0.
North Surry’s Callie Willard also entered the singles tournament, and defeated Forbush’s Autumn Collins 8-1 in a preliminary-round match. She then lost to 6-3, 6-3 to Jenny Smith of South Stokes.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.