Lady Bears sweep tennis doubleheader

By John Cate -

When you think of doubleheaders, thoughts normally turn to baseball. But for the Mount Airy girls tennis team, a rare tennis twinbill was the name of the game on Tuesday evening.

The Bears (14-1, 5-1 Northeast Conference) had originally been scheduled to host Atkins on Monday and then travel to Winston-Salem on Tuesday to play the Camels again. However, rainy weather here on Monday led the teams to switch home venues, and so the Bears traveled to Winston-Salem instead.

The teams managed to complete just two individual matches, both won by the Bears, before the rain followed them and caused the match to finally be postponed. The teams resumed play Tuesday at Mount Airy, completing the match from the previous day, and then played that day’s schedule as well. The Bears won the rain-delayed match 6-2, then beat the Camels 7-1 in the scheduled one.

Prior to the stoppage of play on Monday, Logan King and Elizabeth Bray had won the Nos. 5 and 6 singles matches, respectively, for Mount Airy. Both prevailed in straight sets, with Bray losing just one game and King four.

When play resumed, the Bears continued to put on a strong showing. Coleman Craddock claimed victory at No. 3 in straight sets over Atkins’ Lindsey Jones, 6-1, 6-1, and shortly after that, Maya Hicks took the win at No. 4 over Rose Arnolds, 6-2, 6-2.

The Bears needed just won more match victory to claim team laurels, but the Camels (0-5, 0-5) didn’t go quietly.

At No. 1 singles, Mount Airy’s Lauren Brintle held a 3-2 lead over Makenna Mason in the first set, but lost successive serves and dropped the set 6-3. She continued to struggle in the second set, but after losing four of the first five games, she rallied to 3-4 and trailed by a service break all the way to 5-6. Needing to hold serve, she was unable to do so and dropped the match.

The No. 2 singles match was even more frustrating, as Elizabeth Marion had been blanked 6-0 by the Camels’ Diana Alexandrov in the first set before rain had stopped play on Monday. Given a second chance, Marion split the first six games, was broken at serve to trail 3-4, but then broke back to tie it again and then took a 5-4 lead. At 6-5, she won the fifth break point of a game to claim the set. However, she dropped the last four points of a best-to-10 tiebreaker set as Alexandrov pulled the match out.

Atkins still would have had to sweep the doubles in order to beat the Bears, and that wasn’t happening. King and Bray proceeded to give the Bears the team win by routing Arnolds and Emily Grindstaff 10-0 at No. 3 doubles. Marion and Hicks, at No. 2 doubles, did the same to their competition. Brintle and Craddock were leading 5-4 at No. 1 singles when rain stopped play on Monday, but the coaches chose not to bother completing that match Tuesday.

In the nightcap, the same lineups faced one another.

Alexandrov got past Marion again at No. 2 singles, but that came after Mount Airy had already won the first four matches. King and Bray were particularly impressive, scoring double-bagel singles victories and another 10-0 victory in the No. 3 doubles. Craddock won her singles match while losing just three games, and Hicks lost just two in hers. Marion and Hicks improved to 15-0 at No. 2 doubles with a 10-1 victory. Their victory gave the Bears the team win.

At No. 1 singles, Brintle avenged her defeat in the first match by taking a 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (3-7), 11-9 thriller over Mason. Brintle won three of the first four points in the tiebreaker set, but Mason fought back to lead 9-8. Brintle saved match point and then won two more points of her own for the victory.

Due to two third-set tiebreakers in singles, the top seeds needed a break, so No. 1 doubles didn’t play.

The Bears return to action at Walkertown on Thursday evening.

By John Cate

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