Lady Cards clinch second-straight tennis title

Matthew Gorry Sports Writer

October 9, 2013

RONDA — Back-to-back.

The Lady Cardinals secured their second-straight Mountain Valley Conference tennis title Thursday afternoon with a 9-0 victory over West Wilkes, posting a 13-1 mark in league play.

A year removed from a perfect 16-0 conference season, East Wilkes was forced to replace four of its six starters on the court, making the challenge of repeating far more difficult.

But seniors ShaNisha White and Molly Callaway — playing at No. 1 and 2, respectively — paced the squad as the Cards won 13 of 14 league matches to claim the title.

White finished the MVAC season with one loss, dropping a tough decision to Ashe County’s Hallie Brown in September, to lead the way. Brown powered the Huskies to the 2A conference title.

Filling in behind White and Callaway were first-year starters Kayla Pardue and Kennedy Lester, who brought senior leadership to the court despite a lack of experience. McKenzie Stokes and Abby Burchette rounded out the East’s top six.

Stokes posted an undefeated conference slate and No. 5.

After wrapping up the league’s top seed, the Cards secured a bye in the opening round of the 1A state dual team playoffs, set to kick off next week.

But first, the squad will look to add individual medals to its already-impressive ledger with the conference tournament Tuesday at the Elkin Tennis Center.

Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or mgorry@civitasmedia.com.