Carrboro High School’s tennis players hardly seem to have been tested so far in the N.C. High School Athletics Association dual-team tournament.
The Jaguars, who streaked undefeated through their regular-season schedule to sweep the 2A Mid-State Conference title, have blanked both of their first two opponents – Wilson Beddingfield by a 5-0 score on Oct. 15 and Durham School of the Arts 6-0 on Wednesday. Carrboro swept the singles both times, making doubles unnecessary in either playoff match.
In the past, Carrboro was tested by tough Carolina-12 Conference competition from the N.C. School of Science and Math, Cedar Ridge, Northwood, Raleigh Charter and DSA. Things were different in the 2A Mid-State.
“Our conference was pretty weak this year, except for Jordan-Matthews,” Carrboro head coach Jon Noyes said. “But we had some good competition in the states (individual tournament), so we were able to cut our teeth some late in the year.”
Carrboro’s top six players – Danielle Sawyer, Olivia Shaheen, Abby Rader, Emine Arcasoy, Allison Hutchinson and Jordan Owen – all qualified for the NCHSAA’s individual tournament. Sawyer and Shaheen, both juniors at Carrboro, survived the regionals as a top doubles team and were still undefeated heading into this weekend’s individual championships at Burlington Tennis Center.
“We have good communication, and we played doubles last year, too, so we have lots of good experience together,” Shaheen said. “And we enjoy each other’s company, off and on the court, so that helps.”
Individually, Sawyer upset the defending state champion as a ninth-grader and reached the NCHSAA state semifinals as a sophomore.
As a team, Carrboro reached last year’s state semifinals before a 5-3 loss to a veteran Greene Central team.
“Our goal is to make it to the state finals this year,” Sawyer said. “I think we’ve got a good chance. We’re a stronger team this year.”
Carrboro (14-0) will host Edenton Holmes at 4 p.m. Monday in the NCHSAA quarterfinals.
Despite their undefeated record if they beat Holmes, Carrboro may have to go on the road for the state semifinals. Carrboro’s former Carolina-12 Conference rival, the N.C. School of Science & Math (15-0), is favored to reach the semis.
Dual-team playoff matches this year are held at the home courts of the team with the higher winning percentage. If teams with equal winning percentages are paired, “the NCHSAA will break the tie,” notes the association’s website.
East bows out
The NCHSAA’s habit of keeping 4A pairings close to home in the dual-team tournament once again bit East Chapel Hill.
East (18-6) ended the regular season as the PAC-6 champions and ranked No. 6 in the state, but that didn’t prevent the Wildcats from getting paired with No. 1-ranked Raleigh Broughton (20-0) in the NCHSAA’s second round.
Broughton, which has lost one match since 2009 and beat East Chapel Hill 7-2 earlier this year, defeated the Wildcats 5-1 Tuesday in Raleigh.
Meghana Holegadde was the lone Wildcat to win, defeating Adrienne Overcash 6-2, 1-6, 10-4 at No. 3 singles.
But East’s top two singles players – Brooke Pritchard and Rainie Heck – were still alive in the 4A state individual championships at Millbrook Exchange Park in Raleigh, as was the East doubles team of Holegadde and Iskra Joksimovic. See www.newsobserver.com/sports for results.