WINSTON-SALEM — Mount Airy tennis coach Rodney Pell knew that his team would have its hands full on Tuesday against Atkins’ dynamic duo at the top of their lineup.
As it turned out, he was right about that, but the Lady Camels had little else to offer Pell’s top-ranked 1A tennis team. In fact, Atkins’ stars had to settle for a split decision on their home courts.
The Lady Camels Nos. 1 and 2 singles players, Diana Alexandrov and Yinka Mason, did indeed earn victories over their Lady Bears’ rivals Bailey Jackson and Elizabeth Marion, respectively. But neither of them them came easily. Alexandrov was taken to a match tiebreaker after the players split sets, and barely pulled out a 4-6, 6-2, (10-7) victory in the final singles match to be completed. Marion, facing Mason at No. 2, led 5-4 and 6-5, but was broken on serve in the first set with victory in sight. She also had a lead in the set tiebreaker, but lost the last three points of it and Mason was able to pull out a 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 victory.
Unfortunately for Atkins, it already trailed 4-0 on the team scoreboard before either of its stars made a contribution. The Nos. 3-6 singles all went to Mount Airy in comically easy fashion. In order, Logan King downed Sommer Stephens 6-0, 6-1; Maya Hicks beat Lindsay Jones 6-1, 6-0; Lisa Omuro double-bageled Area Leslie, and Meredith Marion dispatched Jackie Nikas 6-3, 6-0.
With a 4-2 lead after singles, the only way Atkins was winning this one was to sweep the doubles, and that wasn’t about to happen. By mutual agreement between Pell and the Atkins coach, Mount Airy didn’t even send its top two onto the court for the doubles, and Atkins held out Alexandrov but did play Mason. At No. 1, King and Elizabeth Bray beat Mason and Nikes 10-6, but that was actually the final match of the evening to finish. Prior to that, Meredith Marion and Anna Kate Tucker had blitzed Alyssa Odom and Rose Arnold 10-1 at No. 3 and Hicks and Omuro had beaten Stephens and Jones by an identical score.
The Lady Bears, now 15-1 on the season, will host long-time rival Bishop McGuinness on Thursday.