Girls’ team tennis playoffs:
Published: Oct 26, 2012 06:23 PM
Modified: Oct 26, 2012 06:25 PM
CARY - For Panther Creek’s young, talented tennis team, this could be the beginning of a very successful run.
The Catamounts, with four freshmen at the top of the order, blasted East Chapel Hill 5-1 on Tuesday afternoon in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A dual team playoffs.
Panther Creek (19-1) will play again early next week, hosting Broughton, which handed the Catamounts their only loss.
East Chapel Hill, which won the PAC-6 Conference, fell in a rematch from the regular season. Panther Creek, which went 16-0 in the Tri-Nine, edged the Wildcats 5-4 the first time.
Panther Creek’s win Tuesday came with junior Megan Smith, usually the team’s No. 1 player, on the sidelines with an injury. She said she hopes to play Friday in the state individual singles playoffs, according to Catamounts coach Nathaniel Blalock.
Smith’s younger sister Sammi, a freshman, played at No. 1, and fellow freshmen Jordan Strickland, Orla Labiche and Loren Kim filled the top spots. All four won their matches in straight sets.
East Chapel Hill’s Julia Gan won at No. 5, but Panther Creek junior Katie Ryan took a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 6.
“Megan lost in the other match against East Chapel Hill and I know she was disappointed at not getting to play, but today we played like the team we have, the team we are. It was good to see us come alive,” Blalock said. “This team is getting better every match and we only lose one senior out of the top seven so I’m hoping we can only get better.
“All the way down the lineup, they all played well today. Loren Kim played well at No. 4 singles and Orla was the last off the court (with the clinching match), and she was definitely tested. Jordan Strickland was down in her match early, but came back to win the set.”
Sammi Smith and Strickland, still alive as a doubles team in the state individual tournament, said they are excited about their futures at Panther Creek.
“We really like having a group of freshmen playing together like this,” Smith said. “We’ve known each other and played together for a long time, so we have good team chemistry. It’s really lucky that we all live in the Panther Creek district. Plus, next year we’ll be getting a couple of other good freshmen so we could really have a good team for the next year or more.”
Next up for Panther Creek is undefeated Broughton (20-0) on Monday. The Caps defeated Panther Creek during the regular season 8-1, but that match used a pro-set format instead of the usual best-of-three-sets.Falcons roll to next round
Green Hope (19-3) made it a clean sweep of Millbrook in its second-round match. The Falcons won 6-0 in a home match that sets up another match against a Raleigh school.
Wild-card selection Sanderson (13-4), which eliminated Jordan 5-1, will visit in Monday’s third-round action.
The Falcons’ Audrey Channell beat Lauren McCorquodale 4-6, 6-3, (10-6) at No. 1 singles and Green Hope’s Jurasia Horvat and Brantley Belk also won tiebreakers for their No. 3 and No. 4 singles wins.
A win would secure a spot in Wednesday’s East final against either Panther Creek or Broughton.
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