KERNERSVILLE — For the second year in a row, Bishop McGuinness advances to the state 1A tennis championship after edging Mount Airy in the semifinals.
The Lady Bears beat the Villains in the West Regional final in 2013 to win their third-straight title, but then Bishop returned the favor last year at the regional level.
This is the sixth year in a row that Mount Airy has advanced to at least the regional final, noted coach Rodney Pell.
The Bears reached the state championship match in 2010, but fell short. Then the Bears won the title from 2011-13. Now it’s two years in a row losing to Bishop in the regional.
Mount Airy finishes the season 23-3, with two of those losses to the Villains.
“This year’s 23 wins were equalled only by 4A Cardinal Gibbons,” said Pell.
“For a team that lost five starters and returned only one player — sophomore (Elizabeth) Marion, Mount Airy exceeded almost everyone’s expectations,” he said.
In this match, the Auger sisters picked up three of the five needed points for Bishop.
Senior Morgan Auger, who likely will repeat as Northwest player of the year, beat Lauren Brintle 6-2, 6-3 in the top spot.
Sister Becky Auger beat Coleman Craddock 6-3, 6-4 on Court Three.
Then Morgan Auger and Anna Petrangeli teamed up to win the fifth point in doubles, 10-4, against Brintle and Craddock.
In that matchup of top seeds, Morgan Auger took the first three games in the second set, but Lauren showed some heart by winning three straight games to come back, before Auger pulled away, noted Pell.
That was the first point of the match, then Bishop got another win when fourth-seeded Claire Rogers beat Maya Hicks 6-2, 6-4.
Mount Airy got its first point when second-seed Elizabeth Marion beat Petrangeli 7-5, 6-2.
Marion was broken to fall behind 4-5 in the first set, but then she took nine of the next 11 games for the win.
Bishop went up 3-1 when Craddock fell at the third spot. Coleman was up 3-2 before falling behind, the coach said.
Melanie Vynalek gave Bishop a 4-1 lead with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Logan King.
Logan rallied from 2-3 to go ahead 5-4 in the first set, but couldn’t hold the lead, according to the coach.
Elizabeth Bray also was down 2-3 in the first set, but the sixth seed was able to come back and win 7-5 and then 6-4 in the second set over Candyce Sturgeon. That made it 4-2 Bishop.
Marion and Hicks beat Becky Auger and Rogers 10-7 in doubles, but Bishop clinched with the win at one doubles.
The third doubles match wasn’t held.
“The Lady Villains committed noticeably fewer errors, especially in service games,” Pell said, comparing Bishop to an earlier meeting when the Bears won. That match is the only loss Bishop has had in conference play the past two seasons.
The Villains (17-4) will play Sunday afternoon for the state championship against undefeated Raleigh Charter.
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