Mount Airy’s tennis team was already halfway to victory on Monday evening before the serious action in the Lady Bears’ non-conference battle with East Wilkes even got under way.
Three of the team’s singles players won their individual matches with ease. No. 5 Logan King rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Blake Jarvis, and second-seeded Elizabeth Marion was nearly as quick in dismissing Maddie Lester, 6-1, 6-3. When Coleman Craddock won 6-4, 6-2 at No. 3 over Riley Wagoner, it looked like another easy victory was in the cards for the Bears.
Ultimately, Mount Airy did pull out a 7-2 victory that improved its overall record to 16-1, but the Cardinals made things interesting, and the Bears had to wait for the doubles matches to clinch the team victory.
East Wilkes (8-5) got on the board when Kinsey Crabb outlasted Elizabeth Bray at No. 6 singles. Bray was a few points away from winning this one in straight sets, but lost the first set 7-6 in a set tiebreaker and had to rally in set two to force a tiebreaker for the match. She did this in style, taking the second set 6-0, but lost the tiebreaker 10-4.
Maya Hicks won the first set of her No. 4 singles match 7-6 in a tiebreaker over Brooke Schubart, in a seesaw battle where she broke Schubart’s serve to lead 4-3. She was broken herself at 5-4, but broke back at 5-6 to force the set tiebreaker, where she won seven of 11 points. Schubart fought back and won the second set 6-2, then prevailed 10-5 in the tiebreaker.
With the Bears’ lead cut to 3-2, it was left to Lauren Brintle, Mount Airy’s No. 1 player, to keep her team in front. She was embroiled in a touch match of her own. After easily winning her first set 6-1 over Amber Parks, she led 4-3 in set two, but lost successive service games and the set, 6-4. In the tiebreaker, she pulled away from a 4-2 lead to prevail 10-5.
It had been tough going, but the Bears were just one win away from clinching the match. Brintle and Craddock teamed up at No. 1 doubles and took care of that, giving Mount Airy a 5-2 lead with an 8-0 shutout of Lester and Jarvis.
At No. 2 doubles, Marion and Hicks had a tougher time of things after falling down a break early in their match with Parks and Melia Higgins. Down 6-7, they earned successive breaks and forced the match to an 8-all deadlock, then won a tiebreaker 7-4 for the match.
King and Bray lost serve to Schubart and Abby Reeves at 4-3, but battled back to a 7-6 lead in the No. 3 doubles and then won the final game for the win.
Weather permitting, the Bears will visit North Stokes this afternoon.
Reach John Cate via Twitter at @johncate73.