Falcon Girls Win Thriller in Tennis
O’Neal’s opening match in girls’ tennis against Westchester Country Day Tuesday provided plenty of drama.
With the score tied at 4-all, the Falcons watched two of their seniors claim a nail-biting 9-8 win in No. 3 doubles, giving the visitors a hard-fought 5-4 win over Westchester.
Katie Salloum and Katherine McMurray of O’Neal trailed 7-2 in the decisive doubles match before roaring back to grab the win.
“To have Katie and Katherine, as seniors, put the entire team on their backs and gut out this win for the team was extraordinary,” said Falcon coach Carl Bryan. “It was an absolute ‘Disney-type’ of finish.”
There was some hard slogging in the singles portion of the match for O’Neal. At No. 5 singles, Sophia Renner defeated Westchester’s Claire Council 6-4, 6-7, 15-13 in a two-and-a-half-hour slug-fest. Emma Gentry Landry and Kennon Later also won in third-set tiebreakers for O’Neal, while Madison McGuirt won in straight sets to give O’Neal a 4-2 lead entering the doubles portion of the match.
Westchester stormed back to take No. 1 and 2 doubles setting up the dramatic finish.
The Falcons (1-0) face Cape Fear Academy today in Wilmington.
O’Neal 5, Westchester 4
Singles — Erica Sawyer (W) defeated Greyson Keel 6-0, 6-1; Lea Rasenberger (W) def. Maggie Hakas 6-0, 6-2; Emma Gentry Landry (O) def. Kristine Chukwuma 0-6, 6-2, (10-6); Kennon Later (O) def. Catherine York 6-7, 6-4, (10-5); Sophia Renner (O) def. Claire Council 6-4, 6-7, (15-13); Madison McGuirt (O) def. Kimberly Watson 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles — Sawyer-Rasenberger (W) def. Keel-Hakas 8-4; Olivia Smith-Chukwuma (W) def. Lacia Core-Dana Averbrook 8-0; Salloum-McMurray (O) def. York-Watson 9-8.
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