The one blemish on the record for the state’s top-ranked 1A girls’ tennis team was avenged on Monday evening.
Earlier this season, the Lady Bears had suffered their only loss of the season when they traveled to Pfafftown for a match against 4A Reagan High School, and lost 5-4 to the Lady Raiders when they had to play the match without the services of Elizabeth Marion, one of the team’s top two singles players.
Mount Airy got a chance at redemption, not to mention reaching the magic 20-win total, when Reagan came for the return match. The Lady Bears got it, but the visitors didn’t make it easy, pushing it to three hard-fought doubles matches before Mount Airy was able to claim a 6-3 win.
The Lady Bears (20-1 overall) had hoped to lock up the team with before it even went to the doubles, and thought they had a chance to do so with Marion back in the lineup and the Lady Raiders playing shorthanded themselves — regular No. 2 singles player Katie Schoulda was out and regular No. 4 Jasmine Su was only available to play doubles. Mount Airy could have had the win before playing doubles, but two plays lost match tiebreakers after splitting sets, and the Lady Bears settled for a 3-3 split in singles.
To avenge its Sept. 7 defeat, Mount Airy needed to prevail in two of the three doubles matches. Marion and Bailey Jackson, teaming at No. 1 doubles, earned the first of the needed wins, beating Caroline Richter and Su 10-5. Marion and Jackson earned a break at 2-2 and built an 8-3 lead before swapping game wins until it was over. At the No. 3 doubles, Maya Hicks and Lisa Omuro won five of the first seven points of the match against Meghan Cluskey and Niya Grant, cruising to a 10-4 victory and clinching the win.
The last match to be completed was also a Lady Bear win, with No. 2 doubles tandem Logan King and Elizabeth Bray rallying from deficits of 0-3 and 4-7 before winning four straight games to lead 8-7. They dropped a break and trailed 8-9 and then 9-10, but broke Claire Carter and Riley Bostian with them serving for the win. At 10-10, the match went to a tiebreaker, and King and Bray prevailed for an 11-10 (8-6) victory.
In the singles, Richter got the better of Marion with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1, but Marion’s presence made the rest of the lineup stronger for Mount Airy. The Lady Bears won at No. 2, with Jackson downing Carter 6-2, 6-2; at No. 4, with Hicks beating Cluskey 6-4, 6-4; and at No. 6, where Elizabeth Bray defeated Hannah Robins 7-5, 6-2. Mount Airy led 3-1 when Hicks finished off her match, but the last two singles on the court didn’t go well for the home team. At No. 3, King won the second set of her match against Bostian to force a tiebreaker, and she led 6-4 in it before losing six of the last seven points in a 6-4, 3-6, (10-7) win for Bostian. Omuro and Grant split sets at No. 5, but Omuro lost the first six points of the tiebreaker, battled back to tie it at 7, but then lost 10-8 for a 6-2, 4-6, (10-8) Grant win.
The Lady Bears will host North Stokes on Wednesday.