GALAX — Teams from North Carolina haven’t been having much luck against the Mount Airy tennis team lately, so the Granite Bears gave a Virginia team a chance on Thursday afternoon.
The Maroon Tide of Galax put up a fight against the state’s seventh-ranked 1A team, but the final outcome was still the same, with Mount Airy claiming a 7-2 victory and improving to 10-1 on the season.
This was another match where the Bears played slightly shorthanded, with normal No. 3 singles player Hunter Eaton unable to play due to a nagging illness. This may have helped the Maroon Tide get on the board, as Galax won its lone singles match at No. 3, and also took the No. 2 doubles match.
This one followed a slightly different format than most Mount Airy tennis matches, due to the fact that the tennis facilities at Galax’ Felts Park have just five courts. The teams decided to contest the doubles matches first, and then proceed with the singles. The doubles ended with the Bears leading 2-1. Hunt Harrison and Emory Bray, playing No. 1 doubles, lost their second service game to Noah Hutchens and William Patton, but were otherwise not challenged in taking an 8-2 victory. At No. 3 doubles, Kaleb Morrison and Hernan Ramirez won their last six games against Landon Dixon and Luke Reeves to prevail 8-1. Mount Airy nearly made it a clean sweep of the doubles, but Owen Perkins and Cayden Hill lost serve while leading 6-5 and had to rally to force a tiebreaker, which they lost to drop the match against Cage Cook and Coleman Morgan, 9-8 (7-3).
Even though that one got away, the Bears needed just three wins in the singles to leave the Old Dominion with a victory, and they got them fairly easily. Harrison did the same thing he had done in the doubles, dropping his second service game, but was otherwise dominant in taking a 6-3, 6-1 win over Hutchens. The Bears went up 4-1 after freshman Ramirez reprised his week-long supersub role and routed Reeves 6-1, 6-3. He was broken at 2-1 in the second set, but re-established control of the match quickly. Bray secured the team win with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Cook at second singles. Holding a 4-3 lead in set one, he won eight of the last nine games to take the win.
Morrison curiously dropped two service games, one in each set, but broke Morgan every time to win 6-1, 6-1. Hill downed Dixon 6-2, 6-1, and the No. 3 singles between Perkins and Patton was the only match left on the court. Perkins got off to a slow start in both sets and had trouble holding serve, falling 6-3, 6-1.
The Bears will travel to East Surry on Tuesday afternoon.