GIRLS TENNIS

Seaforth tops Central in matchup of county’s top 2 teams

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PITTSBORO — One of the most hotly contested matches of the 2022 girls tennis season happened Monday, as Seaforth hosted Chatham Central for a conference meeting.

As the top two teams in the Mid-Carolina 1A/2A Conference, Monday offered an opportunity for the Hawks and Bears to get some breathing room in the league standings. At the end of the day, it was Seaforth who came out victorious with an 8-1 win over Central.

The Hawks began the match by winning all three of their doubles matches, securing the first points of the day. On Court 1, Seaforth junior Evelyn Atkins and sophomore Bailey Shadoan defeated Central seniors Ellie Phillips and Olivia Brooks, 8-5. The Hawks won by a score of 8-1 in each of the final two doubles matches.

In singles play, Atkins earned a three-set win over Brooks at No. 1 singles, splitting the first two sets before rallying to win the third in a tie-breaker, 12-10. Shadoan took care of Phillips in straight sets at No. 2 singles, while junior Lauren Keeley, and sophomores Makenzy Lehew and Carolina Bowman also earned singles wins.

The lone Chatham Central player to win her singles match was senior Jaylee Williams, who defeated Seaforth sophomore Lillian McFall in straight sets (6-2, 7-6) at No. 3 singles.

The win improved Seaforth to 8-2 on the season and 6-0 in conference play. Before Monday, the last defeat suffered by the Hawks came on Sept. 6 against Carrboro, which is currently 8-3 overall.

Leading the charge for Seaforth this season has been Atkins, who is 5-3 at No. 1 singles and 3-3 in No. 1 doubles along with Shadoan. The Hawks’ top doubles pair so far this fall has been Lehew and junior Lauren Keeley, who are 4-1 at No. 2 doubles.

In singles play, only two players, Lehew and sophomore Claire Coady, are undefeated. Lehew is 5-0 at No. 5 singles, while Coady is 2-0 at No. 5 and 3-0 at No. 6 so far this season.

The loss for the Bears, meanwhile, dropped them to 9-3 overall and 4-2 in the Mid-Carolina Conference standings. Central won the league championship last fall season, finishing the year with a 12-3 overall record and an 8-0 mark in conference play.

Monday’s match saw Brooks lose her first singles match of the 2022 season, and she carried a 10-1 mark at No. 1 singles into the team’s match against Bartlett Yancey on Wednesday (late score). Brooks is also 9-2 in doubles along with Phillips, who herself has gone 9-2 at the No. 2 singles spot this season.

Last season, Brooks and Phillips combined to each go 11-1 in singles play and 12-1 as a doubles pair.

Brooks and Phillips are considered one of the top pairs in the entire state. Last fall, they advanced all the way to the 1A doubles state finals before falling to Mount Airy’s Carrie Marion and Ella Brant.

Elsewhere in the county, Chatham Charter defeated Cornerstone Charter by a margin of 9-0 on Monday afternoon. Across the six singles matches and three doubles matches, Charter players only lost 12 of a possible 85 points.

At No. 1 singles, junior Elphie Spillman defeated her opponent by a score of 8-1. So far this season, Spillman boasts a 6-7 mark in doubles play and a 5-5 record in doubles.

The Knight with the most singles victories this season is senior Lilli Jones, who has gone 8-5 at No. 3 singles.

Chatham Charter is trying to build on a 2021 season that saw the Knights make it all the way to the state championships of the 1A dual team tournament. Charter ultimately fell to Mount Airy int he championship match.

Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at jeremy@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.

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