Caroline Pope and Brooke Pritchard of East Chapel Hill fell in straight sets Saturday in the state tennis finals to the Panther Creek doubles team of Sammi Smith and Jordan Strickland, who won their third N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A women’s doubles title.
Pope and Pritchard had lost only one set in making it to Saturday’s championship finals at Raleigh’s Millbrook Exchange Park.
They defeated Haley Tan and Sullivan Higson of Charlotte Providence, 6-1, 6-2, in the state round of 16 and then topped Raleigh Sanderson’s Sofia Anthony and Dylan Cannon, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. The East Chapel Hill duo then swept Sara Ackerson and Ana Horvat of Cary Green Hope in the state semifinals Saturday morning, 6-3, 6-3.
“They (Smith and Strickland) are just so good,” East Chapel Hill coach Lindsey Linker said. “But I’m really proud of our team. Caroline (a senior) has been a mentor to Brooke (sophomore) and helped her game to really improve. We have a bright future.”
The same easily could be said of Carrboro ninth-grader Jessica Ille.
Ille reached the finals of the NCHSAA tennis championships Saturday at the Cary Tennis Center before falling to Kayla Honeycutt of Salisbury. Honeycutt won 6-3, 6-0 to take the 2A singles championship.
Honeycutt lost only one game in four sets Friday and then eliminated Shelby’s Nancy Bridges, the 2012 state champion two years ago, in a Saturday morning semifinal 6-2, 6-2.
Ille had likewise not dropped a set in the post-season all the way up to the finals.
On Friday, Ille swept Emily Wilkinson of Kill Devil Hills First Flight, 6-0, 6-0, and then defeated Charanya Uppalapati of Lake Norman Charter, 6-0, 6-2.