By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Sunday, September 29, 2013 —
The Gray Stone Day girls’ tennis team was one of the programs that had early success in the 11-year history of the school’s athletic program.
In 2006, Gray Stone won the YVC regular-season title, but had not repeated that feat until last season, when the Knights reached the semifinals of the 1A dual team playoffs, losing to eventual champion Mount Airy in what was Gray Stone’s only loss of the season.
This season, the Knights stormed through the new subdivided YVC, securing the Yadkin Valley Conference West championship with an 8-1 win over South Stanly on Wednesday afternoon at the Knapp Tennis Center at Pfeiffer University.
Gray Stone wrapped up its regular season with a 15-3 record, including 10 wins against YVC West opponents.
Winning in the new YVC West “was the goal from the beginning,” according to head coach Jeff Walter, who added that getting the Knights to their current level of success took several seasons.
“We have always tried to have a strong program that is respectable; we want to have a good product on the court year in and year out.”
Last season’s loss to Mount Airy has been one that “left a bad taste in our mouth” and has been a driving force for the team this season, according to Walter.
“Mount Airy sets the standard in 1A tennis because of their success over the years. They wanted that next step,” Walter said..
“This season, we have definitely grown from that experience.”
Walter noted that the Knights had a similar type match this season against East Rowan, getting off to a bad start then fighting back for a win.
This season, Mount Airy has been the top-ranked team in the state all season long in the coaches’ poll, with Gray Stone behind the Bears in second place by five poll points or less.
The YVC West singles’ and doubles’ tourneys will start on Monday, with the 1A dual team state playoffs starting Oct. 15.
1) Libby Fowler (GS) d. Martha McSwain 6-0, 6-0
2) Meghan Hedgepeth (GS) d. Sabrina Faulkner 6-0, 6-0
3) Brooke Herlocker (GS) d. Chelsey Culp 6-1, 6-0
4) Caby Styers (GS) d. Haley Wilkins 6-0, 6-0
5) Rachel Poston (GS) d. Carrie Morris 6-0, 6-0
6) Sarah Lanning (GS) d. Cheyann Kimrey 6-0, 6-1
1) McSwain/Culp (SS) d. Celsea Reeder/Lydia Hartung 8-3
2) Madison Hatley/Sheldon Smith (GS) d. Faulkner/Wilkins 8-4
3) Haley Medlin/Katie Lee (GS) d. Breana Tredway/Taylor Hartis 8-1