Mount Airy’s tennis team fell to the defending state champions Thursday as Bishop McGuinness won 6-3.
The Villains were the conference champions and the state 1A champions and have a lot of returning firepower.
“Last year the Bears dropped two close matches to the Villains,” noted Coach Rodney Pell.
For only the second time in four matches, the Bears had their top six players in uniform, but Bishop still took four of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches.
At the top spot, Mount Airy’s Matt Kessler returned from a stomach bug to win in straight sets over Kevin Weckworth 6-1, 6-2.
Younger brother Mitch Kessler needed a tiebreaker to keep his perfect singles record alive against talented sophomore Naveed Foroudi, who finished second in the conference tournament last year.
Foroudi won the first set 6-3, but Kessler came back with a 6-1 set to force the tiebreaker where he won 10-5.
The third seeds also went to a tiebreaker. Mount Airy’s Jordan Lawson won the first set 6-2, but Bishop’s Lane Kiser came back with a 6-2 set of his own.
In the tiebreaker, Kiser was well ahead at 6-1, but Lawson made a comeback, cutting the lead to 7-6, noted Pell. But Kiser won 10-7.
By the time the second and third matches were done, Bishop had already secured the three lower seeds.
Fourth-seed Alex Gundlach beat Justin Leonard 6-1, 6-2. Conor Wilson beat Will Pfitzner 7-5, 4-1. And Michael Domabyl beat Blake Hensley 6-0, 6-0.
The Villains secured the team win by taking the third doubles match 10-2 as Wilson and John Abram beat Leonard and Hensley.
Matt Kessler and Pfitzner beat Foroudi/Kiser 10-5 in the second match.
In the top doubles match, Mitch Kessler and Lawson were leading 5-4, but Bishop took six of the next eight games for a 10-7 win, noted Pell.
“We anticipate another close, winnable contest when we travel to Bishop in April,” the coach said. The Bears (2-2) travel to East Surry next Tuesday.