DOBSON — Surry Central beat East Surry to clinch a berth in the state 2A tennis playoffs.
The Golden Eagles have qualified players for the regional individual tournament, but Thursday’s win also put Central into the dual-team format playoffs for the first time in years.
Since the Northwest Conference only has three 2A teams, the league only gets one guaranteed 2A berth, just like with basketball and football. However, a good performance by two teams could get the conference a wild card entry, too.
It’s been more than a decade since Surry Central won the conference tennis title, said Coach Mark Parsons. While it certainly feels good to clinch a playoff spot, Parsons said he still has his eyes on the outright conference title.
Central is now 9-1 in the Northwest with the only loss coming to Bishop McGuinness, the Eagles’ next opponent.
If Central could pull out a win at home Monday, then the Eagles could share the crown with a win in the finale against West Stokes on Wednesday.
“Some coaches have asked, ‘Do you really think you can beat Bishop,’” Parsons said. “Probability is against us, but we’re determined to go out here and try our best. … I think our best tennis is ahead of us.”
Againt East Surry, the Eagles took the top five singles matches to clinch the team win before doubles started.
Both teams were missing a starter. Central second seed Colby Chilton and East fourth seed Zach Koons were both in attendance, but not playing due to illness.
“This was our third match of the week,” the coach noted. “After beating Mount Airy, I was a little concerned about a letdown.”
The Eagles took the first sets in all six matches. Then after winning the top five spots, Central lost the sixth-seed match in a tiebreaker.
At the top spot, Luke Haymore beat Tanner Hartley 6-1, 6-2. Zach Wilmoth moved up to take Chilton’s spot and won 6-2, 6-0 over Austin Johnson.
Trent Day beat Daniel Hancock 6-2, 6-2 in the third spot.
Kirk Needham won 6-3, 6-1 over Caenan Johnson at the fourth spot.
Fifth seed Weston Mosley won 6-3, 6-1 over Tyler Pardue.
East got its first team point at the sixth slot when Daniel Moore rebounded to beat Trevor Smith.
Smith took the first set 6-4, but Moore got the second by the same score, then won the tiebreaker 10-4.
Maybe it was because of playing three times this week, or maybe it was the Mount Airy letdown, but the guys didn’t play as well as they can, the coach said. Still, they fought through that and found ways to win.
While Central has Bishop on Monday, the Cards conclude the season by going to Kernersville Thursday. Before that, East travels to Mount Airy on Wednesday to make up a match from March 7.