PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry tennis coach Ashley Powell admitted she felt a little nervous as her team’s match against North Stokes began to wind down on Thursday.
However, the Cardinals continued to play well in crunch-time, and extended their winning streak to six games in a 6-3 victory over the Vikings.
“North Stokes has a very strong team,” Powell said. “They’re very young but they’re good, and I was extremely proud of my team today.”
East Surry (11-1, 8-1) was able to win despite a rough afternoon for top-seeded Tiffany King, who lost to Brittney Brown 6-1, 6-0.
However, second-seeded Makayla Keener tied the match up for the Cardinals with a 6-2, 7-5 win. Keener improved her singles’ record to 8-4 on the year.
“Makayla’s finally starting to find her groove,” Powell said. “She’s able to make her opponent play her match, and not the other way around.”
The 4-5-6 seeds for East Surry continue to impress. Klaudia Tucker, Mikayla Manuel and Haley Jenelle all won on Thursday and now have a combined record of 35-1 this season.
Tucker defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-2 using an excellent forehand and some timely net play.
“Klaudia just doesn’t get down on herself,” Powell said. “She plays very well under pressure. … And she’s been able to prove herself all season.”
Manuel matched Tucker with a 6-2, 6-2 victory while Jenelle beat Morgan Rogers 6-2, 6-3.
Allie Hawks was the only Cardinal other than King to fall in singles, and it was only her second loss of the season. She dropped a 6-2, 6-3 decision to Abby Williams.
Leading 4-2, East Surry only needed one win in the doubles’ portion of the match to clinch the victory, but the Cardinals got off to a slow start and at one point they were behind in all three doubles’ matches.
However, the team relieved its coach’s nerves with two comeback victories.
Manuel and Abigail Martin trailed 3-6 before rallying and inching out their opponents with an 11-9 victory. The top-seeded duo of King and Keener followed them with a 10-6 comeback win.
Hawks and Tucker were unable to get past their early deficit and lost 10-4.
With the win, East Surry remains in the thick of things for a Northwest Conference Championship. The Cardinals are battling with defending state champion Bishop McGuinness and local rival Mount Airy.
Bishop is the only team to defeat East Surry this season, but the Cardinals will get their shot at revenge against the Villains on Tuesday.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16