RALEIGH — Millbrooks tennis team calls itself the squad.
Coach Kristy Blake says the camaraderie among this years Wildcats team has been refreshing, and important to the teams success.
This is the strongest team Ive ever had since Ive been coaching the last four years, she said. I can see how well this team has bonded. Its everything a coach would want. Its fun to watch.
The Wildcats had to come together Tuesday to win a decisive match against Cap Eight foe Sanderson, 5-4.
The two teams have battled for the past year, tying for Cap Eight runner-up last season. Both teams made the 2012 NCHSAA 4A dual-team tournament, with Sanderson earning a wild-card bid.
Millbrook edged Sanderson, 5-4, last month in the first meeting.
It was so close the first time, Blake said. For us to win was to secure second place, so it was a close match all the way around. There were definitely some tense moments.
Three singles matches went to tie-breaks Tuesday with Millbrooks Savannah Taranto defeating Marisa Anthony, 6-1, 6-7, 10-5; Millbrooks Maryam Yamadi defeating Sofia Anthony, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); and Sandersons Grace Smith defeating Natalie Wrenn, 5-7, 6-3 (10-7).
Millbrooks Lauren McCorquodale defeated Kate Griffin 6-0, 6-2; and Marian Isdahl defeated Maggie Strickland 6-2, 6-1.
Sandersons Hawthorne Buck defeated Emily Jerome 6-4, 6-4.
Needing just one doubles victory to win the match, Blake teamed her No. 1 and 2 players up for doubles.
Taranto and McCorquodale teamed up for the first time during the state tournament last season, eventually making it to the state semifinals.
The duo topped Sandersons Marisa and Sofia Anthony, 8-5, Tuesday to secure the regular-season win for the Wildcats.
I know thats what gives me an edge over other teams this year, Blake said.
Sandersons Griffin and Buck defeated Yamadi and Jerome, 8-6, and Allison McCartney and Smith topped Isdahl and Marin Herold, 8-2.
They wanted the win bad and they played their hearts out, Blake said. Sanderson rises to the occasion when they play us. My girls were very nervous, but thats what its all about.
Sanderson coach Joe Mesiano said the close battle for the top of the conference is new to the Spartans.
Broughton has reigned for several years with Millbrook locking up second place.
Up until last year we were always being stepped on and kicked on, he said. Last year we had two new freshmen come in and now were just shocking everybody. Now were giving Millbrook a run for their money.