Ashley Powell believed she had a quality squad coming into the season, but the first-year girls’ tennis coach at East Surry admitted she’d get a better idea when her team started to face outside competition.
During East Surry’s first preseason tournament, the Cardinals experienced mixed results. A doubles’ team advanced all the way to the championship, but lost, and none of the East Surry’s single’s players made it farther than the second round.
However, it will be hard for Powell to continue to temper her expectations after the Cardinals romped Surry Central in their opening match of the regular season. East Surry defeated the Golden Eagles 5-0 in a match shortened due to lightening and rain.
“My first match as a coach, it was amazing,” Powell said. “I am so proud of how they played out there.”
The Cardinal Ladies were so powerful on Monday they did not drop a single set to Surry Central.
Number-one seed Tiffany King led the Cardinals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Sommer Chilton. King easily took the first set, but she found herself trailing 4-1 to Chilton early in the second set.
After a little pep-talk from her coach, King dominated and rattled of five-straight games to win the match.
“(King) doesn’t let the opponent get in her head, which is so important,” Powell said. “She kept her head in the game and as that second set kept going, she did a better job of reading her opponent and changing some things that she was struggling at.”
King’s second set was eerily similar to many of her teammates. Three out of the five Cardinal winners on Monday were behind in the final set, but eventually rallied for the victory.
“It was impressive to just see the girls never give up,” Powell said. “A lot of the ladies got behind in the second-set, but they didn’t quit.”
Allie Hawks, the three-seed for East Surry, was the first Cardinal off the court with a victory on Monday. She defeated Hope Hinson 6-1, 6-3.
The four-seed competition was the tightest affair of the day and the final completed match before the rain arrived at Surry Central High School. Klaudia Tucker got the best of Sarah Wyble 6-4, 6-2 for the Cardinals.
Fifth-seeded Mikayla Manuel cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory for East Surry, while Haley Jennelle won 6-3, 6-1 as the six-seed.
The only singles’ match that fell victim to the rain was the two-seed meeting between East Surry’s Kayla Keener and Surry Central’s Mallory Wilmoth. Keener had a one-set lead and the two were tied at five in the second set.
The Cardinals will look to maintain this hot start on Wednesday when they travel to West Stokes.
The Golden Eagles, though, are still looking to provide their new head coach with her first victory in charge at Surry Central. Coach Holly Porter will seek her first win on Wednesday in an away match against Mount Airy.
Reach Jackson at 415-4072 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16