The Lady Bears claimed the West regional dual-team tennis title Thursday against Gray Stone Day.
Mount Airy will look to defend its state championship Saturday after defeating Gray Stone 5-0 at home.
The Bears entered the competition with a record of 20-2 for the season and were ready to play against an undefeated team, said Coach Scott Kniskern.
Gray Stone Head Coach Jeff Walter said, “Mount Airy played awesome as defending state champs.
“Mount Airy proved that they are number one and we are number two,” said Walter. He added, “You learn more from losing than winning, and we will keep chasing them.”
Rodney Pell, the Bear’s assistant coach stated, “Our players exhibited a high level of focus and determination against an undefeated, potentially threatening team.”
After last night’s victory the Lady Bears will be facing The N.C. School of Science and Math team in the state finals for the third straight year.
The Lady Unicorns defeated the Bears in 2010 during the state finals, but the Bears took the honor 5-2 last year.
This was the first dual-team title for the Bears, who won two state championships in the 1980s before the dual-team format was implemented in 1990.
The state finals match will be held at the Burlington Tennis Center on Saturday morning.
Jordan Jackson, who is the top seed for the Lady Bears, beat Meghan Hedgepeth 6-0, 6-2. Davi Barbour beat second seed Libby Fowler 6-3, 6-3. Jade Hughes went a perfect 6-0, 6-0 against Brooke Herlocker. Haley Thomas beat Jordan Dejaco 6-2, 6-0. Bree Hughes beat Caby Styers 6-3, 6-4. Carlee VanHoy won 7-6 in a tough tiebreaker first-set against Rachel Poston. VanHoy led in the second set 2-1 but play was discontinued because the overall match had been decided.
Bears number one player Jackson stated that she expected the match against Hedgepeth to be tough since she had played her in the semifinals last weekend.
“I knew that I would have to fight for every point,” said Jackson. “I knew I had to keep the ball deep because she has good short balls. The wind also played to my advantage.”
It was a happy and sad occasion for the top-seeded senior lady Bear. The match against Gray Stone was the last one the senior will play in competition on her home court. She is not sure whether she will be playing tennis in college but wants to study broadcast journalism at Columbia University.