A combination of bad weather and walking wounded had taken their toll on the tennis teams from Mount Airy and North Surry when they met for the second time this season on Monday evening.
With both teams fielding makeshift lineups and snow still on the ground in many spots, the Granite Bears rolled to an 8-0 victory in which the team entered a few players who rarely get to see official court action.
Mount Airy (7-2 overall), ranked sixth in the state as it approaches an important showdown with fourth-ranked league rival Bishop McGuinness today, was missing three starters from its usual lineup. No. 1 Emory Bray and No. 2 Harrison Morris were both held out with injuries, while fifth seed Owen Perkins was on a school activity and not available for the match. Meanwhile, the Greyhounds couldn’t even field a full team, coming to the match with just four players. The teams agreed to contest just two doubles matches, although North had to default at Nos. 5 and 6 singles.
The Bears’ Kaleb Morrison, although playing two seeds higher than usual at No. 2 singles, kept his perfect singles record going by blanking the Hounds’ Connor Nichols 6-0, 6-0. Mount Airy freshman Luke Kirkman was the next Bear to wrap up his match, shutting out North’s William Gonzalez in the first seeded match of his high school career.
The other two contested singles matches were more competitive. Ryan Graham, playing in a seeded singles match for the first time this season, faced the Hounds’ Dalton Quesenberry. This one was highly competitive, with Quesenberry actually holding a 3-2 lead in each set before the Bears’ lone senior in the lineup won four straight games in each set.
The No. 1 singles match was the last one still on the court. Hunter Eaton, who normally plays at No. 3 for the Bears, was in the top spot this time. He beat the Hounds’ Cole Richardson easily in set one, but lost serve at 1-0 in set two and was down 2-3 before going in front by winning two straight games. Richardson answered with two of his own, and led 5-4 before Eaton won out to take the match 6-2, 7-5.
Alex Bowers and Caleb Muckler were officially awarded walkover wins at Nos. 5 and 6 singles for Mount Airy, respectively. But they got a chance to play in the doubles matches.
Eaton and Graham, who normally team up at No. 3 doubles for the Bears, played No. 1 against a similarly makeshift North Surry lineup. The Hounds sent out Richardson and Nichols to face them. Eaton and Graham won the first four games, then lost serve but bounced back with four more wins for an 8-1 victory. At No. 2 doubles, Bowers and Muckler got the call against Quesenberry and Gonzalez. They dropped the first game but then won eight in a row.
The Bears host Bishop today, while the Hounds travel to Walkertown.