Senior Day for the Mount Airy tennis team couldn’t have gone much better than it did.
The state’s top-ranked 1A tennis team sent out all five of its seniors for Monday evening’s non-conference tilt with Forbush, and scored a 9-0 victory even without the presence of one of the Lady Bears’ top players.
Mount Airy (14-1 overall) honored senior players Bailey Jackson, Logan King, Lisa Omuro, Elizabeth Bray and Anna Ilyasova for their contributions to Lady Bear tennis, and coach Rodney Pell used all five of them in the starting lineup. They held the Nos. 1, 2 and 4-6 spots in the lineup, with junior Maya Hicks holding down the No. 3 slot. All six of them won, and in the doubles, Mount Airy didn’t lose a single game, scoring three straight 8-0 victories to complete the match.
One of the highlights came from Ilyasova, who could be in the starting six for almost any other team in the area, but rarely gets to play for Mount Airy except in exhibition matches. Playing in the first seeded match of her career, she rolled to a 6-2 victory in the first set, but struggled against Forbush’s Ariatne Moreno in set two and had to go to a tiebreaker to determine the match. In the tiebreaker, they swapped points until Ilyasova took a 4-3 lead and then never looked back, winning the match 6-3, 2-6, (10-6).
Even though Elizabeth Marion, who has played at either No. 1 or 2 singles all season when healthy, wasn’t able to play, it didn’t stop the Lady Bears’ first four players to finish from posting double-bagel wins. Jackson blanked Stephanie Swain, Bray shut out Autumn Collins, Omuro did the same to Monlea George, and Hicks zeroed in on Mollie Hennings. King lost a game in set one against Alyssa Southern, but still clinched the team win with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Jackson took the doubles off, but she wasn’t needed. Hicks and Omuro were the first to finish up, taking the No. 2 doubles over George and Collins. At No. 1, King and Bray topped Swain and Southern for the eighth win, and Ilyasova and Meredith Marion played the No. 3 doubles for Mount Airy, blanking Hennings and Gena Wright to finish the match.
The pairing of King and Bray has been entered by Pell in 13 of the Lady Bears’ 15 matches this season, but never at the No. 1 spot until Monday. They are 1-0 as the team’s No. 3 doubles pairing, and 11-0 at No. 2.
The Lady Bears will return to Northwest Conference action today, hosting Atkins. The Lady Camels (6-5, 2-5) lack the depth of a Mount Airy, but have two exceptional players at the top of their lineup in Diana Alexandrov and Yinka Mason.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.