1A tennis playoffs: North Rowan 5, Highland Tech 4
North Rowan’s girls tennis team, already missing its top player, overcame an injury to another highly ranked senior and pulled out a dramatic 5-4 victory against Highland Tech in the first round of the 1A playoffs.
The Cavaliers (11-6) traveled to Gastonia and competted without top-seeded Corbin Bennett, who rolled her ankle during the YVC tournament. Highland Tech (6-7) won three of the first five completed matches, and North knew it would have to forfeit at No. 1 doubles because of a wrist injury suffered by Diamond Jackson during her No. 1 singles match.North freshman Catherine Crawford picked up a critical three-set win at No. 6 singles, and the No. 2 doubles team of Kelli Berry-Caitlin Crawford kept the Cavaliers alive with a 10-8 victory against Alyssa Barrera-Anna Renfro. The tandem of Kayla Morgan-Catherine Crawford won 10-0 against Estefania Cano-Kiara Floyd at No. 3 doubles.
“I could not be more proud of the way my girls handled the adversity they faced tonight,” North coach Sallie Hundley said. “We had to overcome injuries, a forfeit and a shakeup to our normal lineup, but the girls stepped up and performed when we needed them.”
Hundley had additional praise for Catherine Crawford, who moved into the No. 6 singles spot after five teammates slid up one position apiece because of Bennett’s absence.
With North on the verge of being eliminated by a 5-2 team score, Crawford won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 against Cano.
“For a freshman to step up at such a crucial point in the season, especially after playing exhibition most of the year, and deliver the way she did is incredible,” Hundley said.
North’s other singles victories came from Berry (6-4, 6-0 against Tori Rhinehart at No. 2) and Caitlin Crawford (6-0, 7-5 against Renfro at No. 5).
Jackson fell 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) against Rachel Rudisell, and Highland Tech’s Katie Foerste won 6-2, 6-0 against Morgan at No. 3. Barrera claimed a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Haley Ridenhour at No. 4.
The Cavaliers will face fellow YVC member Gray Stone, the league runner-up, in a second-round playoff match next week in Misenheimer.
Gray Stone swept the third-place Cavs during the regular season.