EAST BEND — The Mount Airy tennis team is off and rolling now.
The Granite Bears hit the road for a showdown with Forbush, and ran off a long run of dominating singles victories on the way to an 8-1 victory on Monday evening.
Mount Airy, now 4-2 overall and ranked sixth among the state’s 1A teams by the N.C. Tennis Coaches Association, won the Nos. 3 through six singles matches in rapid-fire succession, with no one losing more than three games in any match. Only at the top of the lineup did the Falcons offer any resistance. Both of the top two singles matches went to a tiebreaker set, and Forbush got its only team point when the same two players beat Emory Bray and Harrison Morris in the No. 1 doubles match. However, this came at the end of the day and the Bears were ahead 8-0 when it wrapped up.
Mount Airy’s No. 4 player, Kaleb Morrison, was the first to end his singles match, defeating Seth Anderson 6-0, 6-1. Shortly after that one wrapped up, No. 5 Owen Perkins claimed a double-bagel win for the second time this season, blanking the Falcons’ Alex Pena. At third singles, Forbush’s Peyton Eldridge did a little better, actually scoring a service break to open set two, but nowhere near good enough as Hunter Eaton won the last six games for a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
At No. 6, Forbush again won three games, but Cayden Hill’s only real hiccup in a 6-2, 6-1 victory was blowing a service game at 3-0 in set two. He recovered from this by winning out over Jaeden Gage to put the Bears up 4-0.
The top two singles matches were much tougher. Bray put himself into a hole against Forbush’s Matt Wilhelm by coughing up a break at 2-1 in the first set. He eventually held at 5-6 and forced a tiebreaker, but Wilhelm won seven of the nine points to win the set. In set two, Bray got the upper hand when he won a break to lead 3-2, but Wilhelm immediately broke back. Bray ended up taking set two by breaking Wilhelm two more times, forcing a tiebreaker where he won seven of the last eight points, finally winning 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-4).
Morris started off poorly against Lance Kennedy, losing the first three games and dropping set one decisively. He trailed 3-4 after seven games in the second set, but then won three games in a row to even things up and take it to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, the two split the first six games before Kennedy won three in a row. Morris scrambled back to 7-8 and then won the next two points to lead, and finally pulled it out 12-10 in extra points, 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (12-10).
Mount Airy already had the team win, but the teams still played the doubles. Morrison and Perkins blanked Eldridge and Anderson to take the No. 2 match. At No. 3, Eaton and Ryan Graham teamed up for an 8-2 win over Pena and Edgar Markman, winning the first five games and then cruising from there.
The No. 1 doubles match was competitive, but Bray and Morris had difficulty holding their serve and it cost them. Wilhelm and Kennedy broke them three times and claimed an 8-3 revenge victory.
The Bears will host Reagan today, weather permitting.