Next Tuesday will only mark the second round of the 1-A state tennis playoffs, but one of the top teams in the bracket will be gone when the day is done.
Mount Airy had little trouble disposing of visiting North Stanly in Tuesday’s first-round action, routing the Comets 8-1 and moving on to a second-round showdown with undefeated Mountain Valley Conference champion Elkin.
The Lady Bears (21-2) had the victory before the doubles matches even started, taking five victories in six matches. Only a 10-7 tiebreaker victory by North Stanly’s Faith Wang over Elizabeth Bray at No. 6 singles prevented a Mount Airy whitewash.
The only other close match came at No. 3 singles, where Coleman Craddock was broken on serve twice and dropped the first set 6-2 to Briosa Morgan. She rallied to win the second set 6-3, then took the first five points and held on to win a 10-7 tiebreaker.
The rest of the singles matches were won in straight sets. Going down the order, No. 1 Lauren Brintle defeated Merionne Hunt 6-2, 6-4; No. 2 Elizabeth Marion downed Kari Crowell 6-0, 6-3; No. 4 Maya Hicks topped Gao Xa Xao Moua 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; and Logan King beat Oleaha Almond 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5, ending each set with a five-game winning streak. At No. 6, Bray fought hard, but lost the tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets 7-5, 6-7 (2-7). Bray held a 6-5 lead in the tiebreaker but couldn’t hold on.
In doubles, the Comets put up a fight in every match, but Mount Airy won them all. Brintle and Craddock defeated Hunt and Morgan 8-5. Marion and Hicks held off Crowell and Moua 8-6, and then King and Bray had to come from behind to prevail at No. 3. The match was tied 3-3 when they were broken on serve. Trailing 4-5, they won four games in a row to claim the victory.
The Lady Bears will hit the road for their match with Elkin, whose 15-0 record was enough for them to receive a bye into the second round of the playoffs. Mount Airy has played two common opponents with the Elks, those being Surry Central and East Wilkes. Elkin beat Central 6-3 in its season opener back in August, and owns 8-1 and 9-0 wins over East Wilkes. The Lady Bears have beaten both teams twice each, Central by 6-2 and 7-2, and East Wilkes by 6-3 and 7-2.