Washington’s tennis season ends in first round

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Washington’s tennis season has come to a close after shortcomings last week at regionals and Wednesday in the first round of the dual team playoffs. The Lady Pack was seeded just a bit higher than an 18-4 Barlett-Yancy squad visiting from a strong 2-A Mid State Conference.

It was the kind of competition that coach Miranda Whitley prepared the girls for with their rigorous non-conference schedule. They went winless in that stretch, but showed they could compete against top-tier teams like New Bern and Fike, among others.

“They’re in a tough conference with teams like Carrboro,” Whitley said. “They’re all very consistent girls. They all hit the ball really well and they move very well. I’m very proud of the fight that our girls put in. They all played very well. Some of them played the best match they’ve played all season today. They did the best they could.”

Compete they did. Logan Crisp had a strong showing against Kaleb Stephens. Kayla Clark also performed admirably, but both fell in two sets. Clark’s 7-5 and 6-4 losses were the closest sets of any Washington player.

“Logan was one of the ones that had her best match,” Whitley said. “Kayla has been pretty consistent. She’s been good with her singles throughout the year, so it’s no surprise that she played well.”

Other top Lady Pack players like Nechelle Everette and Sydney Lewis played well, too, but simply ran into stronger players.

“Nechelle, she was hitting the ball hard,” Whitley said. “She was doing all the right things. She had some great shots and some great points. They were all keeping the points going, but the girl kind of just hit that extra ball.”

The season, as a whole, was still a successful one. Each player showed noticeable improvement from start to finish, and the end result was a share of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship.

“I’m proud of the season we had,” Whitley said. “We’re co-conference champions, and it was good to get the (league’s) No. 1 seed for the playoffs. That allowed us to get the home match.”

In addition to seniors in Everette, Lewis and Crisp, Washington will graduate Kelsi Waters and Samantha McClure. Mary Grace Wilder and Mary Belle Johnson showed their capabilities to take over as senior leaders next season. Moving forward, the Lady Pack has a key cog in Clark, who was a sophomore this season.