APEX — Middle Creek’s promising girls’ tennis team gained a reprieve after the SWAC schedule-maker forced the Mustangs to run a gantlet, with three losses to conference powers Panther Creek, Green Hope and Apex to open the season.
In the third week of the season, Middle Creek followed the losses with a win against Holly Springs on Wednesday and an 8-1 victory against Athens Drive on Thursday on the Mustangs’ courts.
“We started out playing the three best teams in the conference, but we played well against all three of them,” Middle Creek coach Rhonda Blanchard said. “We focused on the thought that we lost but we played well. This week we played great against Holly Springs, and again today.”
Middle Creek juniors Shaye McAuliffe and Alex Phillips led their team with sweeps in their singles and doubles matches. McAuliffe and Phillips teamed up at No. 1 doubles to win 8-1, and then McAuliffe won at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0 and Phillips at No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-2.
Athens Drive junior Lakshmi Sridhar prevented a sweep when she won at No. 4 singles 6-2, 6-0.
Middle Creek improved to 2-3 overall and in the conference, while Athens Drive dropped to 1-3 and 2-3.
Cary 5, Apex 4: Cary took home a narrow victory 5-4 Wednesday afternoon against Apex.
Cary (3-2) has been trying to get back on track with seniors Jamie Rogers, Hannah Jabusch, and Paulina Powierza after stumbling early against the top two SWAC teams, Green Hope and Panther Creek.
Apex has given Cary several close matches in the past, and this one was nothing different.
“This was a very good match for us with a lot of competition here,” Cary head coach Janet Trotter said. “We are all able to play other players in a strong and competitive way. Apex has been a really great team for us to play, and it has been enjoyable.”
No. 1 singles Rogers (6-0, 6-0), No. 2 Jabusch (6-2, 6-1) and No. 3 Powierza (6-4, 6-2) were all able to win. Powierza’s match clinched the win for the Imps.
Apex (4-1) had tied up the match, with Natalie Melech (6-0, 6-1), Audrey Sung (6-0, 6-0), and Elle Hepburn (6-1, 6-2) all winning their singles games.
Cary won two of the three doubles matches. Doubles partners Rogers and Jabusch won while Sonali Kathuria and Liz Leon did also. Elizabeth Johnson and Melech took their doubles match for Apex.
Trotter has been proud of her team early on this year; her motto for the year is to “work hard and have fun,” something that she preaches to her team.
“Actually, this is a really big win for us,” Trotter said. “We have been working really hard. We have a lot of beginner players, those who haven’t played a great length of time. And just to see them out here today after all the work, playing this strong, it was fun to watch.”
Cary also prevailed 6-3 Thursday against Fuquay-Varina.