Mount Airy’s top-ranked tennis team ended the regular season in style Thursday evening.
The Lady Bears have spent virtually the entire season ranked No. 1 among the state’s 1A ranks by the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches’ Association, and the last match prior to postseason play just put an exclamation point on that, as the Lady Bears swept the singles en route to an 8-1 win over fourth-ranked East Surry.
Mount Airy’s finally official match will result in a forfeit win over Winston-Salem Prep today. When that win is officially credited, the Lady Bears will enter postseason play with an overall record of 23-1 and 12-0 in the Northwest 1A Conference. The Lady Cardinals also completed their regular season on Thursday, and enter the postseason at 16-3 overall and 9-3 in conference play. East Surry finished tied for second with Bishop McGuinness (13-4, 9-3), which is tied for No. 2 in the NCHSTCA rankings with Chatham Central.
Few who saw Thursday’s match would question the top ranking. Mount Airy won all six singles matches, and only one of them was particularly close. At No. 3, Lady Bear senior Logan King won the last three games of set one to take it, but then got bageled by Abigail Martin in set two to force a tiebreaker. King found her game again, and the two battled back and forth, swapping the lead, until King gained an 8-7 lead and then won the next point for a double match point. Martin closed the gap back to 9-8, but no more as King claimed the win, 6-4, 0-6, (10-8).
That win gave Mount Airy a 4-0 edge in the team score. Not long after, No. 5 Lisa Omuro finished off a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Mikayla Manuel to secure the Lady Bears’ 22nd victory of the season. The singles wrapped up with Elizabeth Bray completing a 6-4, 6-2 victory over East sophomore Carson Payne.
The first three singles wins for the Lady Bears were completed fairly quickly. Fourth seed Maya Hicks took a 6-1, 6-2 victory over freshman Sarah Mann, and then the Nos. 1 and 2 singles matches finished one after another. Top seed Bailey Jackson and No. 2 seed Elizabeth Marion each scored 6-0, 6-1 victories over Lady Cardinal counterparts Haley Jennelle and Claudia Tucker, respectively.
East Surry earned its only point of the match at No. 2 doubles, where King and Bray held a 5-4 lead over Tucker and Manuel, but then lost four of the final five points and the match, 8-6. The No. 3 doubles match had already gone to Hicks and Omuro by an 8-2 score over Mann and Payne. Jackson and Marion completed the match with an 8-3 victory over Jennelle and Martin.
Both schools will have players competing in the conference tournament, which will begin on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Mount Airy. The dual-team state playoffs are slated to begin on Oct. 18.