CARY — Mount Airy’s doubles team goes for a state title this morning at the Cary Tennis Center.
Davi Barbour and Haley Thomas lost in the state final last year and have been eager for another chance.
In 2012, Libby Fowler and Brooke Herlocker, Gray Stone Day, knocked off the Bears’ Jade Hughes and Elizabeth Dinkins in the semifinals, then quickly won the championship 6-1, 6-0 over Barbour and Thomas.
The Bears know they can win as they defeated Fowler/Herlocker 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the West Region final.
This is the third year in a row that the doubles semifinals and final are exactly the same as the West Regional, said Bear Coach Scott Kniskern. The West players have won all 12 quarterfinal matches over the East players in that time.
The girls took the court at 9 a.m. in frigid temperatures and a strong breeze.
Barbour and Thomas defeated Hannah Whitehurst/Kaylyn Norville, Tarboro, by 6-2, 6-1.
Teammates Bree Hughes and Carley Vanhoy topped Sara Modlin/McKenzie Mixon (Riverside-Martin) 6-2, 6-2.
Madison Chappell/Mallory Blake (East Montgomery) downed Mackie Randall/Kami Edwards (Raleigh Charter).
Fowler/Herlocker beat and Emma Burroughs/Logan Elkins (West Columbus).
In the semifinals, Barbour and Thomas defeated East Montgomery’s Chappell/Blake 6-2, 6-1.
After knocking out Jade Hughes in the semifinals last year, Gray Stone Day put younger sister Bree out this year as Hughes and VanHoy lost 6-1, 6-0 to Fowler/Herlocker.
The championship match will begin at 9 a.m. today at the Cary Tennis Center.
North Surry’s Sarah Glasco and Surry Central’s Marlee Wilmoth took part in the singles championship for 2A schools.
Glasco was a third seed taking on the second seed from the East, Ashton Daniel, Reidsville.
“Sarah was a ball of nerves, having never been to the state tournament before,” said North Coach Maggie McKee. “But, she handled it with ease.”
Daniel made mistakes, and Sarah capitalized on them, the coach said. Sarah figured out early on what was working and what wasn’t and adjusted her attack.
Glasco tore through Daniel 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the round of eight.
Meanwhile, Wilmoth was fighting tooth and nail to avoid elimination against the best player from the East.
As the fourth seed, Wilmoth faced top-seeded Lydia Yuan, N.C. School of Science and Math.
Marlee said she didn’t have butterflies, said Central Coach Dennis Miller, but “she appeared to have a good case of the nerves in the first set.”
Yuan took that set easily, 6-1, but Wilmoth refused to quit.
The nerves gave way to determination. Yuan had an awesome serve, but Marlee made some well-placed returns, Miller said.
The girls battled to a 6-6 tie in the second set. In the tiebreaker, it was 6-6 before Yuan took two straight points for the match.
“Marlee really played with a lot of heart,” said Miller.
Marlee has been fire-tempered with good competition all season as Central’s top seed, and she has learned a lot, the coach believed.
By making the state field, he said, “She can definitely hold her head up high. She will be one heck of a contender next year.”
In the second round, Glasco faced Cassidy Shell, Bandys, who swept Wilmoth 6-0, 6-0 earlier this week in the state dual-team playoffs.
Miller said he was very impressed with Shell and figured she was the player to beat at the state level.
Shell blanked Glasco 6-0, 6-0 to reach the state semifinals this morning.
“She is a very solid player,” McKee said of Shell. “”Sarah has nothing to be ashamed of, losing to a D-I prospect.”
Miller said he was talking to Shell’s parents Friday and learned that they had recently moved to Surry County.
Cassidy is a senior and wanted to finish out her career with Bandys, but she could have transferred to Central’s team.
Instead, it was Shell’s wins in singles and doubles that helped propel Bandys over the Eagles 5-4.