1A tennis playoffs: Gray Stone 5, North Rowan 1
North Rowan’s girls tennis team fell 5-1 to YVC rival Gray Stone in the second round of the 1A dual-team playoffs.
The outcome ended the careers of five seniors who were part of a playoff team for the first time.
“Their hard work and dedication over the last three years has paid off and allowed us to make this incredible run in the playoffs,” third-year North coach Sallie Hundley said. “This season has been a truly special experience, and I could not be happier that this group of seniors has ended their high school careers on such a good note.”
Corbin Bennett, Diamond Jackson, Kelli Berry, Kayla Morgan, Haley Ridenhour and Caitlin Crawford helped the Cavaliers (11-7) make their first postseason appearance since 2005. Berry, a junior who played No. 3 singles, is the only member of the top six slated to return.
North, which won four matches in 2007 and six in 2008, sent all six players to this year’s Western Regional.
Injuries to Bennett and Jackson, the team’s top two seeds, didn’t prevent the Cavs from pulling out a 5-4 victory over Highland Tech in a playoff opener. Catherine Crawford filled in and played a key role in that match.
“I am so proud of all this team accomplished this year,” Hundley said.
Caitlin Crawford, playing at No. 6 on Wednesday, earned North’s lone victory against Gray Stone (14-2). She won 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, (7-2).
The next closest match occurred at No. 2, where Jackson lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 to Ashley Honeycutt. Ridenhour played a tough first set in a 6-4, 6-0 loss to fifth-seeded Alex McCollister, and Morgan fell 6-3, 6-0 to Maggie Grathwohl at No. 4.
Gray Stone’s Kaleigh Featherstone won 6-1, 6-2 over Berry, and top-seeded Molly Peele beat Bennett by a 6-1, 6-1 score.
Gray Stone, which won 7-2 in both regular-season meetings with North, advanced to a state quarterfinal matchup with unbeaten YVC champion East Montgomery.
“I thought we played Gray Stone much more competitively than the final scores indicate,” Hundley said. “It seemed like we went deep in most games ó lots of deuces ó but were unable to win the key points. Even though we had lost to Gray Stone twice this year, my girls played their hardest and did not back down from the challenge.”