KERNERSVILLE — Going into Thursday’s Northwest 1A Conference showdown between Bishop McGuinness and East Surry, the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches’ Association had the Villains rated as the second-best 1A team in the state and the Lady Cardinals at No. 3.
They’ll have to reverse the order when the new poll comes out.
East Surry’s Nos. 1 and 3 doubles teams took the victory in the final hour of the match, and lifted the Lady Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over host Bishop McGuinness. It marked the second year in a row in which East Surry (6-2, 1-0 NW1A) has earned a victory over Bishop, and the win likely makes the Lady Cardinals the favorite to claim this year’s league crown.
In the doubles match, East’s No. 1 team of Haley Jennelle and Sarah Mann outlasted the Villains’ Becky Auger and Lydia Cortes 10-7 in the decisive match. The Lady Cardinals’ No. 3 team of Carson Payne and Lili Craven had already claimed a 10-4 win over Charlotte Dabar and Megan Standen to push East Surry within one point of the road victory, but right about the same time, Bishop’s No. 2 doubles team of Claire Rogers and Michelle Petrangeli had earned a 10-8 win over Abigail Martin and Haley Gilley.
The teams were well known to be closely matched. They split matches last year on the other’s home courts, and each of them made a deep playoff run before falling 5-4 to conference rival Mount Airy in the state playoffs. Gilley and Martin, who ironically were the only doubles team to lose for East, both won easily in their singles matches. Martin, playing second singles for the Lady Cardinals, routed Cortes 6-0, 6-4. Gilley, at No. 5, handled Standen even easier, 6-0, 6-3. However, Auger handled Jennelle 6-2, 6-2 at the top of the lineup, and the three other singles matches were all hotly contested.
Dabar and East’s Daphne Dotson refused to back down from the other in a No. 6 singles match that featured tiebreakers in the first set and for the match. Dotson outlasted Dabar in set one, 7-6 (7-3), but the Bishop junior bounced back and won the second set 6-3 to force the match tiebreaker, which she also won, 10-8. Petrangeli scored a win for the Villains at No. 4, downing Payne in a match tiebreaker, 6-2, 5-7, (10-2). Mann prevailed for East at No. 3 when she won a match tiebreaker after the two had split sets 2-6, 7-5. At the end of the hard-fought singles action, the teams were even at three points apiece.
Bishop fell to 4-2, 1-1 on the season. The Villains’ only other loss was to 4A R.J. Reynolds, while East Surry’s only setbacks came at the hands of unbeaten 2A Surry Central, both by 5-4 scores.
Assuming that the Phoenix can field a team this season, East Surry was slated to host Winston-Salem Prep on Tuesday. The Lady Cardinals will already know a lot about how the NW1A race will shape up, since Bishop was scheduled to visit No. 4 Mount Airy on Monday. East Surry travels to South Stokes on Thursday.