KERNERSVILLE — If the Mount Airy tennis team took a step back from elite status in the early part of the 2017 season, then the young Lady Bears have just about made it back.
The four sophomores and a freshman who hold five of the six spots in the Mount Airy lineup came up one tiebreaker short in a road match at Bishop McGuinness last week, which ended in a 5-4 victory for the host Villains after they pulled out two of the three doubles matches.
Mount Airy, now 7-5 on the season with all of its losses to teams ranked in the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association polls (1A East Surry and Bishop, and unbeaten 2A Surry Central) split the singles 3-3 in matches that were so close that three of them went to match tiebreakers. The highlight for Mount Airy came at No. 2 singles, where Meredith Marion came from down 3-6, 4-5 to win the last three games of set two and force the tiebreaker, where Bishop’s Lydia Cortes held triple match point at 9-6. However, Marion mounted a furious rally to tie, and later saved a fourth match point before winning the tiebreaker 15-13. At No. 3, Olivia Perkins cruised in set one, faltered in set two, but then won her tiebreaker 6-1, 2-6, (10-8) to beat Claire Rogers.
After four singles matches, it was tied 2-2, with Marion and Perkins having won for Mount Airy after Bishop had won at No. 1 with Becky Auger downing Elizabeth Marion 7-5, 6-4, and Michelle Petrangeli taking the fourth singles 6-0, 6-2 against Ashtyn Myers.
At No. 5, Bishop regained the lead when Megan Standen beat Anna Kate Tucker in a match tiebreaker for a 6-3, 1-6, (10-4) victory. This left it to Olivia Malone to save the split for the Lady Bears, which she did by beating Olivia Kennedy 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, taking the last three games of the second set.
It was anyone’s match going to the doubles, but the Villains took the early edge when Cortes and Petrangeli beat Myers and Tucker 10-1 at second doubles. The Lady Bears needed a win by the Marions to even it back up, but Auger and Rogers scored a service break at 3-3 and held it the rest of the match for a 10-7 win and a team win for Bishop. The Lady Bears’ two Olivias teamed up at No. 3 and rallied from a 2-3 deficit to beat Standen and Charlotte Dabar 10-6, but the No. 1 match had just ended and it was academic.
Mount Airy will host South Stokes today.