By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s tennis team won its first match of the season by an 8-1 margin over Franklin in Mountain Six Conference action Sept. 24 at Mark Watson Park.
The Lady Mustangs (1-5, 1-4) lost 5-1 to Pisgah in another MSC home match last Thursday. Doubles matches were rained out against the Sugar Bears.
“The girls dominated the match,” Coach Ashley Doolin said of the Franklin contest. “A home win always feels good. We are proud of the girls and their hard work. A win is exactly what the girls needed to end the first half of the season.”
Results of singles matches included:
#1 – Ella Harris (S) over Alyssa Smith 10-1.
#2 – Natalie Partain (S) over Mariah Sloan 10-6.
#3 – Carmen Sgro (F) over Katherine Selby 10-1.
#4 – Julianna Welch (S) over Mary Helen Kolousek 10-2.
#5 – Jenaya Reagan (S) over Cassidy Lanning 10-2.
#6 – Hannah Lillard (S) over Jasmine Cruz-Rios 10-6.
“Ella took a nearly untouched win at #1,” Doolin said. “She played strong and capitalized on the points she needed to in order to come out on top.
“Natalie played a competitive match at #2 but managed to stay on top of her opponent,” the coach said. “She has been a fighter this whole season.
“Julianna continues to impress,” Doolin said. “She pulled out another impressive win. She’s kind of a secret weapon. It doesn’t matter where we put her in the lineup, she plays up to the level of competition and has a drive to win.
“Jenaya is another one of our girls who plays competitively each match,” Doolin added. “Her serves are coming along nicely. It’s definitely a strong suit of hers.
“Hannah makes it happen,” Doolin said. “She gets out there and rallies. She keeps the rallies going until her opponent makes the mistake, and that’s all it takes.”
Results of doubles matches, all won by the Lady Mustangs, included:
#1 – Harris and Partain over Smith and Sgro 8-5.
#2 – Samantha Rosario and Eden Wilson over Sloan and Kolousek 9-7.
#3 – Addison Cowan and Sydney Lewis over Lanning and Cruz-Rios 8-2.
Doolin noted Harris and Partain had an impressive win while different lineups were used for the other doubles matches.
“Samantha and Eden kicked it into gear from the beginning and played really well together,” the coach said. “Their chemistry as partners was a strong asset and drove them to their first win together.
“Addison and Sydney also put on a match worth watching,” she added. “For two girls who have spent most of the season playing exhibition matches, we were really excited to see them take a victory. Addison has been coming out her shell a lot lately, and we’re seeing a more aggressive side of her. They both communicated and worked well together. We can’t wait to see more of this duo in the following weeks.”
Despite the loss to Pisgah, Doolin was impressed with the improvement from the first meeting.
SM’s only singles win was at #3 where Welch defeated Chloe Parris 6-6 (7-5), 0-6, 12-10.
“It was a long, hard-fought and well-deserved win,” Doolin said. “She stuck to her rhythm of keeping things close before pulling out the win. We’re proud of her and how hard she battles during her matches.”
Results of other singles matches, all won by Pisgah, included:
#1 – Mae Anna Norris over Harris 6-0, 6-2.
#2 –Chloe Medford over Partain 7-5, 6-3.
#4 – Kara Mehaffey over Selby 6-4, 4-6, 11-9.
#5 – Haylee Willis over Reagan 6-4, 7-5.
#6 – Ivey McClure over Rosario 6-3, 6-1.
Doolin said Rosario had been playing well and moved into the top six. However, she was sick and was not able to play her best, according to Doolin.
“I am proud of her work ethic and look forward to seeing her compete more through the second half of the season,” the coach said.