The most recent poll taken by the N.C. Tennis Coaches Association ranked Bishop McGuinness sixth in the state’s 1A ranks, and Mount Airy seventh.
The Granite Bears provided strong evidence on Tuesday afternoon that the coaches might want to reverse that order when the next poll is taken.
With the team back at full strength for the first time in three matches, Mount Airy won four of the six singles matches and then locked up the team victory when its No. 3 doubles team of Owen Perkins and Cayden Hill claimed a 10-5 win in the first of the three doubles matches. The Bears went on to add another victory at No. 1 doubles and take the lead in the Northwest 1A Conference standings with a 6-3 victory over the Villains.
Mount Airy (8-1, 3-0 NW1A) lost only at Nos. 3 and 4 in the singles matches, and although third-seeded Hunter Eaton was well enough to return to the Bear lineup, Coach Rodney Pell said he was still not at full strength in his 6-2, 6-3 loss to Alex Chinnasami. Bishop was completely without its No. 4 player, Samuel McDonald, but Jimmy Dasher filled in for him and opened the match with a shutout win over Owen Perkins. However, Mount Airy’s Kaleb Morrison returned the favor with a double-bagel over Chris Muller at No. 5 to tie the match.
Eaton held an early lead in the second set of his match against Alex Chinnasami, but dropped consecutive service breaks and the match. At No. 2, Emory Bray had a dogfight with the other Chinnasami brother, Adam. The two swapped 6-2 set wins to go to a match tiebreaker, where Bray won four of the last five points for a 10-7 win in the tiebreaker.
The match was tied 2-2, and like almost every Mount Airy-Bishop tennis match, every point was tense. At No. 1 singles, Hunt Harrison held triple break point at 5-4 against Henry Kirby. However, Kirby rallied to win that game, and Harrison had to hold serve himself at 6-5 to win the opening set. In set two, he earned two breaks for a quick 4-1 lead and went to take the second set 6-3.
Hill, playing at No. 6, had a similarly tough match against the Villains’ Victor Carbone, but also scored the win. Leading 5-4 in the first set, he lost successive breaks to Carbone, and ended up in a set tiebreaker after they played to a 6-6 tie. He won the tiebreaker 7-5 and then pulled away from 3-2 in set two for a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory and a 4-2 edge to the Bears in singles.
In the doubles, Perkins and Hill beat Michael Angino and Luke Kreber in the first three games, then split the next six to lead 6-3. All they had to do was hold serve from then on for the 10-5 decision and the all-important fifth team point. At No. 1 doubles, Harrison and Bray won the first 12 points of the match to lead 3-0. The Chinnasami brothers, playing as a team, rallied, earning service breaks at 5-3 and 8-6 to get back into the match, but Harrison/Bray held serve at 9-7 to win.
Kirby and Dasher ended the match by taking the last five games in their No. 2 doubles showdown against Eaton and Morrison, winning 10-4 and ending the match as a 6-3 win for the Bears.
Mount Airy will travel to North Surry today.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.