FAYETTEVILLE — With its win Wednesday afternoon, the Richmond girls tennis team advanced to the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association State Playoffs.
The Lady Raiders “slipped into” the postseason as a wildcard in the East Bracket and then made the most of their opportunity with a 5-4 victory at Pine Forest.
“It’s an accomplishment for these girls. I’m happy for them and it’s something we can try to build on for the future,” head coach Michael Way said. “It is definitely going to be an uphill battle from here, though.”
Richmond won four of the six singles played, courtesy of seniors Kathleen Pittman and Meredith Stogner and sophomores Jayana Nicholson and Greyson Way. Pittman and Way took down their opponents in just two sets, while Nicholson and Stogner needed three to shake off their respective competition.
Pittman easily handled Pine Forest’s Emily Haze (6-0, 6-2) in the No. 3 spot and Way took down Kayla Schmidt (6-0, 7-5) in the No. 4 singles. Nicholson dropped the first set but bounced back to defeat Shania Lane (2-6, 7-6, 10-8) as the No. 2 player, and Stogner split the first two sets before prevailing over Jazmine Leath (7-6, 2-6, 10-5) in the No. 5 spot.
Senior Destiny Buie fell Kelcie Farmer (0-6, 1-6) and junior Emily Parsons dropped to Annabelle Fish (2-6, 4-6) in the No. 1 and No. 6 singles, respectively.
Nicholson and Way were the only Lady Raider duo to prevail in the doubles, dominating Haze and Leath (8-0), but that’s all the team needed to push past the Lady Trojans and make it out of the opening round.
“They compliment each other well,” Way said of the duo. “It’s big to be able to count on winning one or two of the doubles points. It takes the pressure off during the singles.”
Richmond now prepares for a showdown with Sanderson, who defeated Rolesville on Wednesday, in the second round of the playoffs. That match will take place in Raleigh next Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.