Playing in one of the top-heaviest conferences in the state, taking every winnable game in reach is crucial to Fuquay-Varina girls tennis coach Marshall Wortham. His Bengals snapped a four-match losing streak Tuesday, snatching an road 8-1 victory from Cary.
“We needed a little confidence, we play in a very difficult conference and you take what you can get,” Wortham said. “I’m proud of the girls and how we’ve progressed this season, we’re improving every match.”
Fuquay-Varina (3-6, 2-6) swept the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles with ease. Led by the valiant play of senior Donalyse Tyrell, the Imps (0-8, 0-6) were able to take Fuquay-Varina to an 8-8 tiebreaker match before ultimately losing 9-8, putting themselves in a 4-0 hole.
Fuquay-Varina’s top-to-bottom depth was in the spotlight, with their Nos. 3-6 singles winning 6-0, 6-0 with exception to one 6-0, 6-1 victory.
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“This team definitely has a family, community feel to it,” senior captain Kelsie Schmidt said. “We’re more dedicated, we’ve progressively gotten better, and it’s great as a senior to see it all come together after four years.”
Despite the loss, Cary coach Janet Trotter is pleased with her players’ efforts. Many of them came into the season with no experience.
“We started off with only three girls to start the season and now we’re up to seven,” Trotter said. “They’re always at practice, working hard, you can’t ask any more than that. They’re surprisingly resilient and they thrive on what they do well.”
Featuring their top player, the Imps needed a win in the No. 1 doubles to have a chance at earning their first win of the season. The Bengal balanced combo play of Aysha Diallo and Anna Braxton proved to be too much, allowing the Bengals to run out to the quick lead they needed.
“They showed a lot of guts on their part,” Wortham said. “Working together as a team, communicating more, having grit and determination.”
They said it
Wins aren’t easy to come by in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, and Wortham is happy to see his Bengals competing on a difficult schedule. “We need to win the matches we should win, compete in every match, and let the wins come where we can get them.”
Three who mattered
Anna Braxton, Fuquay-Varina: Braxton’s play near the net in the No. 1’s doubles match was critical in the Bengals taking the match, with her powerful blocks staying consistent as the players began to fatigue.
Donalyse Tyrell, Cary: Tyrell, an experienced transfer student from Maryland, took Fuquay-Varina the distance in the No. 1 singles and swept her No. 1 singles match (6-0, 6-2).
Savannah Durham and Erin Griffin, Fuquay-Varina: Collectively, the duo earned a shutout together in the No. 3 doubles match while also amassing (6-0, 6-0) victories in their singles matches.
By the numbers
94: Minutes played in the No. 1 doubles match.