Girls tennis: Millbrook 5, Sanderson 4

Wildcats ‘squad’ comes together, tops Spartans in big match

cgrant@newsobserver.comSeptember 27, 2013 

— Millbrook’s tennis team calls itself “the squad.”

Coach Kristy Blake says the camaraderie among this year’s Wildcats team has been refreshing, and important to the team’s success.

“This is the strongest team I’ve ever had since I’ve been coaching the last four years,” she said. “I can see how well this team has bonded. It’s everything a coach would want. It’s 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 Millbrook’s Savannah Taranto defeating Marisa Anthony, 6-1, 6-7, 10-5; Millbrook’s Maryam Yamadi defeating Sofia Anthony, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); and Sanderson’s Grace Smith defeating Natalie Wrenn, 5-7, 6-3 (10-7).

Millbrook’s Lauren McCorquodale defeated Kate Griffin 6-0, 6-2; and Marian Isdahl defeated Maggie Strickland 6-2, 6-1.

Sanderson’s 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 Sanderson’s Marisa and Sofia Anthony, 8-5, Tuesday to secure the regular-season win for the Wildcats.

“I know that’s what gives me an edge over other teams this year,” Blake said.

Sanderson’s 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 that’s what it’s 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 we’re just shocking everybody. Now we’re giving Millbrook a run for their money.”

Grant: 919-829-4538

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