Last year’s runner-ups came out on top in this year’s Cap-8 Conference girls tennis championships at Millbrook Exchange Park on Thursday.
In doubles, Sanderson’s Sibel Tanik and Sofia Anthony, second last year to a pair of teammates, defeated fellow Spartans Anna Scott Holshouser and Becca Bollinger 6-4, 6-2.
In singles, Millbrook sophomore Brianna Taranto topped Leesville Road’s Lauren Robbins 6-2, 6-2.
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Taranto had not defeated Robbins, the No. 1 seed for the co-champion Pride, this year. But she turned it around this time with a mental adjustment.
“I usually don’t play very well against her. I usually lose,” Taranto said. “You just forget who you’re playing and focus on each point.”
Last year Taranto, as a freshman, was second to three-time 4A singles champ Susanne Boyden.
“I think she was really focused today. Lauren is a really tough opponent. Lauren had a really tough opponent before this one,” Millbrook coach Amanda Dauphinais said. “(Taranto) was really good about coming up to the net and hitting corner shots.”
Also qualifying for next week’s 4A Mideast regional tournament were Broughton’s Becket Waters as well as Enloe’s Nija Price and Catherine Battle
Battle topped Leesville Road’s Avery Mataka for the fifth and final spot.
Anthony and Tanik were upset last year in the conference championships by Holshouser and Dylan Cannon before making a postseason run to the 4A semifinals.
“It wasn’t all about winning obviously because we were teammates, but we wanted to play our best,” Tanik said.
That state success has motivated the pair this season.
“I think it kind of boosted our confidence a little bit,” Anthony said. “We kind of knew we had done it once before, we can do it again.”
Sanderson, co-champs of the Cap-8, has found strength in its doubles over the last two seasons as coach Joe Mesiano has stressed game strategy, particularly in doubles.
It paid off on days like Thursday, not only for both doubles teams but for Mesiano as well.
“Once you get through the semifinals, your stomach doesn’t turn, you just sit back and enjoy,” Mesiano said.
Joining the Sanderson teams in the 4A Mideast regionals are Leesville’s Camden Clark and Helen Alvis, Broughton’s Katie Burroughs and Meg Hardesty and Wake Forest’s Krysten Le and Sara Brooks Daniel.
Daniel and Le defeated Leesville Road’s Ariana Pirzadeh and Irene Michalakis 6-4, 3-6 (10-6) for the final spot, the second straight third-set tiebreaker they won.
They are the first Wake Forest players to advance to regionals in more than a decade and the first to advance out of the Cap-8’s first round in that span.
In the Big 8 3A late Wednesday, Faith Peoples defeated Sam Sparrow 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Northwood singles title while Cedar Ridge’s Senera Sauers and Kate Milner defeated teammates Leah Thompson and Alana Lutz 8-2.
Also late Wednesday, in the PAC-6 4A championships, East Chapel Hill’s Victoria Jones won singles and Cardinal Gibbons’ Caroline Igo and Karen Galush won doubles.