Three Johnston County squads advanced to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s girls dual team tennis playoffs with wins on Tuesday. All three of those schools — Cleveland, West Johnston and Clayton — will host second-round matches this coming week.
Clayton 5, Apex 4: Clayton put itself in a good position to start doubles play in its 4A playoff match against Apex, up 4-2 after singles play. Carmelle Joyner (6-0, 6-1 over Elizabeth Johnson), Crystal Andersen (6-0, 6-3 over Sarah Martin), Hannah Riley (6-1, 6-1 over Sneha Senthilkumar) and Andrea Villasuso (6-4, 7-6 (7-4) over Erica Hwang) won in singles play for the Comets.
Apex’s Kylie Griep forced doubles play by edging Clayton’s Hannah Kellum in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 6 singles. Griep took the narrowest of wins in the tiebreaker, 10-8. Kellum had won the first set (7-5), before Griep forced the third with a 6-3 decision in teh second set.
Clayton’s Joyner and Riley won at No. 2 doubles to wrap up the victory for Clayton, downing Martin and Natalie Melech, 10-3.
The Comets (17-0) will host Southern Pines Pinecrest (16-2) in the second round on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
West Johnston 5, Pine Forest 2: The Wildcats ousted the Trojans on the road by using their singles depth. West entries won at No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles. Carrington Mack, Sabrina Fink, Ariel Andrews and Blair Wright all won in straight sets. Andrews had a tight match with Pine Forest’s Mary Cat Pruett but prevailed, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
West’s Jessica Reese and Carmen Juarez took an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles to wrap up the win for the Wildcats (15-3), who host East Chapel Hill (13-2) in a second round match.
Cleveland 6, Western Alamance 3: The Rams swept all three doubles win to break a 3-3 tie after singles with Western Alamance.
Top-seeded Victoria Dixon, who advanced to the state 3A singles individual championships, Sarah Rose and Raleigh Keenan captured singles victories for Cleveland.
In doubles play, the Rams won a combined 24 games to 3 for Western in the three matches. Dixon and Kayla Smith won 8-3 at No. 1; Rose and Abby Siegert took an 8-0 decision at No. 2 doubles and Anna Kate Gilchrist and Keenan were 8-0 winners at No. 3.
The Rams (15-2) host Rocky Mount on Nov. 1 in a second round match.
Dixon 6, North Johnston 0: North Johnston wrapped up a very solid season with a loss to a deep Dixon squad in the 2A playoffs.
“I was extremely proud of the effort our young ladies put forth,” said North coach David Anderson. “We had arguably the greatest season girls tennis in the history of North Johnston High School. It has been an exciting ride winning the first regular season conference championship and having 2 of our young ladies win the conference doubles championship. I could not ask for a better group of young ladies and parents to work with.
“These young ladies have set the bar high for the upcoming seasons at North Johnston High School.”
The Panthers finished the season with an 11-8-1 dual match record and were Eastern Plains 2A Conference co-champions with Washington.
North will graduate seniors Skylar Thomas (the No. 1 singles seed), Savannah Beasley and Allison Bunn from their playoff match lineup.