Bears win doubles, send 5 to regionals
by Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
Mount Airy’s tennis team will send five players to the 1A regional tournament after successful play in the Northwest Conference Tournament.
The Lady Bears finished first and second in doubles play, while singles player Jai Daniels won the third-place match.
Bishop McGuinness will send two singles players and a doubles team to regionals as the rest of the schools were shut out.
East Surry and North Stokes each had an entry in the semifinals, but both lost twice.
East’s Tiffany King fell in the semifinals to Bishop’s Morgan Auger, 6-1, 6-0.
At the same time, Mount Airy’s Jai Daniels lost to Bishop’s Kyndall Cortes, the top seed, 6-0, 6-1.
In the third-place match, Daniels pulled off an upset against King 6-3, 6-4 to earn the final regional spot.
Cortes and Auger made up an all-Villains final. The junior Cortes beat the sophomore Auger for the conference title, 6-4, 6-2.
In doubles, Mount Airy’s Davi Barbour and Haley Thomas breezed through the semifinals against Bishop’s Anna Owen and Adaire Hudson, 6-1, 6-0.
Meanwhile, teammates Bree Hughes and Carley VanHoy, the third seeds, beat the second seeds from North Stokes, Mallie Zigler and Miranda Hammonds, 6-2, 6-2.
In the third-place match, Owen/Hudson beat Zigler/Hammonds for the final regional spot, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.
In the doubles final, Barbour and Thomas won their third-straight doubles title, 6-2, 6-2.
“They played really well,” Bear Coach Scott Kniskern said of his five players.
“The doubles teams did more or less what I expected,” he said. The girls showed well against the other teams and faced off in the finals as he hoped.
“Jai, I can’t say enough about her,” he said. “She was nervous; this was her first time in the tournament.”
Daniels won two matches on Tuesday, including a mild upset of a fifth seed over a fourth seed. Then after losing to the top player, she rebounded to beat a second seed.
That match very nearly went to a third-set tiebreaker.
Tiffany King was up 4-1 and had a couple of break points on Jai before the junior pulled off five straight wins, he said.
That showed a lot of guts, he said. That determination will help her in dual-team playoffs and the regional tournament.
Before the Bears and Villains can focus on the regional tournament, the schools first must hold a tiebreaker match today to determine seeding for the dual-team playoffs.
The teams are already co-champions of the conference with 9-1 records. However, since they split their two matches, neither one holds a tiebreaker advantage, so the teams must play.
They square off at 3:30 p.m. on a neutral site, East Surry’s home court.
The first round of the dual-team playoffs falls on Tuesday. Then, the regional tournament will be held over Friday and Saturday at Elkin.
Kniskern will be the regional director for the tournament, but is utilizing Elkin’s location because it has more courts available.
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