RONDA — Mount Airy’s tennis team improved to 9-1 overall with a 6-3 victory against East Wilkes on Friday.
On Feb. 27, the Bears posted a 9-0 win over the Cardinals but that score did not reflect how close the individual contests were. In Friday’s match, three of the Bears suffered close losses.
Mitch Kessler scored the Bears’ first team point and improved his record to 10-0. Justin Leonard won his fifth match in a row and put Mount Airy up 2-0. Gentry Williamson remains undefeated at 7-0 and earned the third point for the Bears.
In the middle sets, Mount Airy lost three hard-fought, close contests. Jack Marion lost a tiebreaker. Will Sparks could not sustain early leads in both sets of his match and Hunt Harrison fell short in a third-set tiebreaker. Down 9-5, Harrison saved four match points but was denied four match points before losing 18-16.
In doubles, all three Bears’ teams built early leads and withstood challenges from the Cardinals. Kessler and Blake Hensley pulled away from 6-5 and Sparks and Williamson remain undefeated after winning at No. 3 doubles.
The Bears have a big conference match on Tuesday at Bishop McGuinness in a matchup of the top two teams in the league. The Villains took the first meeting between the two teams in Mount Airy, the only loss this season for the Bears. A win by Mount Airy against Bishop would move the Bears into a tie for the Northwest 1A Conference lead.
Mount Airy is 6-0 in nonconference play.
Elsewhere in tennis action, North Surry (2-2) swept South Stokes 9-0 on Thursday and Surry Central (1-1) swept Forbush 9-0 in Western Piedmont Conference matches. Also, East Surry (0-6) fell to Bishop McGuinness 9-0 on Thursday.
Mount Airy 6, East Wilkes 3
SINGLES: Mitch Kessler (MA) d. Dillon Shew 6-2, 6-0; Justin Leonard (MA) d. Matthew Philley 6-0, 6-2; Jeffrey Haynes (EW) d. Jack Marion 6-3, 3-6, 10-4; Landon Osborne (EW) d. Will Sparks 6-4, 6-2; Kyle Rhodes (EW) d. Hunt Harrison 6-4, 4-6, 18-16; Gentry Williamson (MA) d. Stone Burgess 6-3, 6-2.
DOUBLES: Kessler-Blake Hensley (MA) d. Shew-Philley 10-5; Leonard-Sam Brown (MA) d. Osborne-Rhodes 10-8; Sparks-Harrison (MA) d. Haynes-Justice Brinkley 10-5.