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The East Wilkes girls tennis team passed two of its toughest Mountain Valley Athletic Conference challenges with flying colors last week.

Coupled with last Tuesday’s 6-3 win at Ashe County, the Cardinals captured a 7-2 victory at Elkin to remain undefeated this fall at 8-0.

But more importantly, they’re 6-0 in MVAC play heading into its final match of the league schedule’s first half schedule at Wilkes Central today.

“We are very excited about what our team has been able to accomplish so far. We have played several very good teams this season and have been able to play well in close matches,” said East Wilkes Head Coach Aaron Simmons. “Our match versus Elkin was well-contested by both teams. Elkin returned its top four players from last season, so we knew they would be very good, but the depth of our lineup served us well.” 

Elkin’s top two players — Emma Henstock and Stephanie Kelly — put the Buckin’ Elks up 2-0 with wins against Jordan Schubart and Sylvia Prevette.

But the Cardinals’ next four players made up for the early losses thanks to some hard-fought wins, including two that required third-set tiebreakers.

Kaleigh Couch dropped an early first set to Brittany Collins at No. 3, but battled back to capture the next two sets, 6-4, 10-8. Number six singles player Kristie Brown claimed a 6-0 win against Julie Cortez in the first set but Cortez battled back to win 7-6. Brown, a sophomore, claimed the tiebreaker 10-6.

Tristen Blevins gave East Wilkes the lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Larkyn Nelson and Brianna Martin extended the Cardinals lead to 4-2 at the conclusion of singles play with the win over Elkin’s Kenley Wells 6-0, 7-6.

“Tristen picked up a great win at number five and Kaleigh and Kristie were able to fight through third set wins gave us a 3-2 advantage,” said Simmons. “The last singles match came down to Brianna, and she showed a tremendous amount of focus and calm in a match that took nearly three hours. That gave us some strong momentum heading into doubles, and our kids were able to play strong doubles and win at each position.”  

The Cardinals carried over the momentum of their strong finish to singles play into doubles as Schbuart and Martin bested Henstock and Kelly 8-3. Prevette and Couch clinched the match win with an 8-4 victory in No. 2 doubles.

“Jordan and Sylvia’s leadership in doubles was amazing, and the rest of our kids just followed their lead,” said Simmons.

Blevins and Brown wrapped up the win with an 8-4 win in No. 3 doubles.

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