NCSSM advances to state 2-A girls' tennis quarterfinals
The N.C. School of Science and Mathematics made short work of visiting Dixon Tuesday, disposing of the Bulldogs 6-0 in the second round of the state 2-A dual-team girls’ tennis championships.
Doubles play was conducted on an exhibition-only basis since the match was decided during the singles round. Not surprisingly, the Unicorns swept through those exhibitions as well
Science & Math, which finished second in the state 1-A championships to champion Mount Airy a year ago, has moved up to the 2-A ranks under high school reclassification, but the Unicorns are 15-0 despite the bump and are the champions and No. 1 seed from the Northern Carolina 2-A Conference.
In fact, NCSSM coach Richard McClenny said Tuesday, the move to 2-A hasn’t been traumatic in any sense of the word. Much of that has to do with the fact that the Unicorns competed in an odd hybrid league last year, the Carolina 12 1-A/20-A Conference, and as such faced 2-A powers such as Carrboro — an opponent that looms in next Wednesday’s state quarterfinals if seedings hold up — on a regular basis.
In fact, the Unicorns last season lost twice to the Jaguars, state 2-A semifinalists last season.
Carrboro is 13-0 and Mid-State 2-A Conference champion and hosted 12-1 Durham School of the Arts, the No. 2 seed from the NC 2-A Conference behind NCSSM.
The match was suspended because of rain with Carrboro in seeming command, leading by at least two games in all six singles matches’ first sets against visiting DSA and leading by one in the sixth match.
Tuesday’s suspended match will be completed today at 4 p.m. at Carrboro.
McClenny said the competition level at 2-A has so far not lived up to what the Unicorns faced a year ago, but admitted that his young lineup will be tested next week.
The Unicorns on Monday at 4 p.m. will host a third-round tournament match at Whippoorwill Park against the winner of No. 2 Mid-State 2-A seed Siler City Jordan-Matthews and Snow Hill Greene Central (19-4), the No. 1 seed from the Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference. Greene Central lost in the state 2-A title match a year ago.
The Unicorns are in a unique situation among Tar Heel high schools because they’re a two-year residential school with a roster turnover guaranteed every two seasons.
Last year’s veteran team that challenged for the state title is all but gone. The only player back is No. 2 singles player Gabrielle Beaudry, the lone senior on this year’s team. And she, like the rest of the starting lineup, is undefeated in singles play this season (13-0).
“The girls are playing well, but we won’t know if we’re where we’d like to be at until Monday and Wednesday next week,” McClenny said, citing the talent quarterfinal and semifinal opponents are sure to bring.
Unbeaten in 15 singles matches including Tuesday’s whitewash at Whippoorwill Park in Durham are Unicorn juniors Lydia Yuan (No. 1), Rebecca Liu (No. 4), Anna Xu (No. 5) and Rachel Xu (No. 6). No. 3 singles player Jessie Huang is 14-0.
The Unicorns rarely play doubles matches because of their dominance in singles. But as in singles, its three doubles teams are unbeaten. In their correct flights, the teams of No. 1 Beaudry/Huang, No. 2 Yuan/Liu and No. 3 A. Xu/R. Xu are each 2-0 on the year. Outside their current flights, Beaudry/Huang are a total of 4-0 and A. Xu/R. Xu are also 4-0.
NCHSAA Dual-Team Tournament, 2nd Round
NCSSM 6, Dixon 0*
SINGLES — Lydia Yuan (NCSSM) d. Maria Persun 6-1, 6-1; Gabrielle Beaudry (NCSSM) d. Shawna Ross 6-0, 6-1; Jessie Huang (NCSSM) d. Briana Turnbough 6-1, 6-0; Rebecca Liu (NCSSM) d. Maddie Brennan 6-3, 6-1; Anna Xu (NCSSM) d. Shi Warren 6-3, 6-0; Rachel Xu (NCSSM) d. Jessica Marro 6-0, 6-1.
Records — Dixon 7-4, N.C. School of Science & Mathematics 15-0.