Coming into Wednesday’s Western Piedmont Athletic Conference match with West Stokes, the North Surry tennis had six losses, five of them at the hands of teams who were either undefeated, ranked in the top four of the state’s 1A rankings, or both.
The Lady Hounds must have wondered who had it in for them when they hosted the Lady Wildcats and lost the services of their best player in the middle of the singles matches. For all intents and purposes, North Surry took on West Stokes in a 2-0 hole right out of the gate.
But Coach Mark Parsons has said all season that his team never quits. It paid off when they won anyway.
North’s Katherine Parsons was engaged in a riveting battle with the Lady Cats’ No. 1 player, Sydney Preston, and was seemingly on her way to forcing a match tiebreaker when she had to retire, with the score at 3-6, 6-6 (8-6), and Parsons two points away from winning set two. This forced Coach Parsons to shuffle his doubles lineup, and without Parsons, his No. 2 doubles team had to play No. 1 and lost 8-1 against Preston and Stephine Henery.
The rest of the Lady Hounds circled the wagons, and when a makeshift No. 2 doubles team of Callie Willard and Kiersten Walker gutted out an 8-6 victory over Torrie Preston and Sarah Grace Sells, North Surry won the match 5-4.
“Adversity is something we’ve dealt with all year,” said Coach Parsons. “When Kate had to retire with cramps, she couldn’t play doubles, and despite this, our girls fought and scrapped and we won the match. It was an awesome experience.”
The bottom two of the Lady Hounds’ singles lineup were dominant, and their performances helped give North a chance. At No. 6, Madison Stockman double-bageled her opponent, and at No. 5, McKensie Bare won 6-4, 6-2 over Rhyan Sapp. When Willard scored a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Torrie Preston at No. 2, the Lady Hounds secured a 3-3 split of the singles. Even the two other wins for West Stokes didn’t come without a fight from North Surry. At No. 3, West’s Henery beat Paige Simpson 6-4, 6-3, and at No. 4, Sells topped Juliana Cooke 7-6, 6-4.
It was 3-3 going to doubles, but for all intents and purposes, North was already down 4-3. Cooke and Stockman got the point back when they rolled 8-2 at No. 3, beating Sapp and Ramsay Miller. At No. 2, Willard (who normally teams with Katherine Parsons on North’s #1 doubles squad) paired up with Walker. They gutted out the win and North Surry claimed its second team victory of 2017.