DOBSON — Two of the best high-school tennis players in the state, let alone the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference, play for the Atkins Camels.
Luckily for Surry Central, they have one of the best teams in the state, and the Lady Golden Eagles moved one step closer to a sixth straight WPAC title with a 6-3 victory over Atkins on Tuesday evening.
Central, the state’s ninth-ranked 2A team according to the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association, improved to 7-0 in WPAC play and 9-1 overall with the victory over the Camels (5-2, 4-2), who have beaten every other team in the league except for the Lady Eagles. Surry Central can clinch a tie for that sixth straight title on Thursday with a win at Carver, and can secure it outright by beating Forbush at home on Sept. 25.
Atkins, however, was the focus of attention on Tuesday, and with good reason. The Camels brought out their powerhouses at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Diana Alexandrov and Yinka Mason, and they did their thing. Unfortunately for Atkins, Surry Central brought out its powerhouse team, and they did their thing as well. Alexandrov and Mason won everything they played in, and the Lady Eagles won everything else.
The match was essentially a replay of the meeting eight days earlier in Winston-Salem, where the Lady Eagles’ Hannah Pardue and Sarah Marion competed well with Alexandrov and Mason but couldn’t beat them. Pardue had an early lead on Alexandrov in the first set but ended up losing the match, while Marion went to 7-5 in her first set with Mason. The No. 1 doubles match was decided by just a single break, 8-5 in favor of Atkins.
It didn’t matter, because Mattie-Grace Snow, Haily Robertson, Mamie Smith and Rachel Carter knocked the Camels’ humps off.
Smith, playing at No. 5 singles, double-bageled Simran Vadagama. Robertson lost just one game in taking the No. 4 singles match 6-0, 6-1 over Area Leslie. Sixth-seeded Carter shut out Camarra Monae for a set and cruised 6-0, 6-2. And third-seeded Snow cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sommer Stephens.
With a 4-2 edge going to doubles, Central only needed one doubles point to put away its biggest rival in the WPAC this season. Smith and Carter shellacked Chrystal Davis and Maurissa Jackson 8-1 at No. 3 doubles, while Snow and Robertson were scoring an 8-2 win over Stephenson and Leslie at No. 2.