It was a day of celebration for the Mount Airy women’s tennis program and those who made the school’s newly-surfaced tennis courts a reality.
Unfortunately for the home team, it also became a day for their guests to celebrate.
The Lady Bears hosted Surry Central in a match that pitted the state’s fourth-ranked 1A team against its 10th-ranked 2A team to open the season. Prior to the match, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, officially opening Mount Airy’s tennis courts for business. Following the end of the 2018 men’s season, the courts were closed down and then fully refurbished and resurfaced.
The courts were officially open for business, and the Lady Golden Eagles meant business as well, taking control of many of the singles matches early on and going on to an 8-1 victory.
Central, the five-time defending Western Piedmont Athletic Conference champion, returns five starters from a team that posted a perfect 17-0 record in the regular season and never lost until it faced eventual 2A state champion Salisbury in the playoffs. Although Mount Airy fought back to make several of the singles matches interesting and pushed three of them to tiebreakers, its only win came when Anna Kate Tucker came from behind to upend Mamie Smith 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 1-0 (10-6) at No. 5 singles.
The Lady Eagles won three matches in straight sets, with Sarah Marion downing Olivia Perkins 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2, Haily Robertson beating Olivia Malone 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4, and Rachel Carter defeating Katherine Bray 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6.
The No. 1 singles match looked like a blowout early on, with Hannah Pardue winning four of the first five games and taking the first set easily. However, the Lady Bears’ Elizabeth Marion battled back to win the second set, and Central’s top player had to pull out the win in a tiebreaker, 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-8).
The No. 3 singles match also featured a comeback, but this one went to the ladies in black. Mattie Grace Snow was crushed in the first set against Ashtyn Myers, but won the second and then prevailed in the tiebreaker, 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5).
Central was thus already ensured of a win before the doubles were even contested, but the Lady Eagles didn’t relax, sweeping all three matches and losing just five games total. Pardue and Marion downed Marion and Perkins 8-2, Robertson and Snow beat Tucker and Malone 8-1, and Smith and Carter defeated Myers and Bray 8-2.
There was also time for an exhibition match, in which the teams put their No. 7 singles players on the court for a set. Central’s Ellen Bryant scored an 8-5 win over Hailey Martin.
The Lady Eagles play again on Tuesday, when East Surry, the state’s second-ranked 1A team, will drop into Dobson for Central’s home opener. The Lady Bears’ next match will be on Aug. 24 at R.J. Reynolds.