Hannah Sherrill

Maiden's Hannah Sherrill serves one up in this file photo.

The first state playoffs for the academic year begin today as the North Carolina High School Athletic dual team girls tennis state tournament gets underway around the state.

A predetermined bracket set by the NCHSAA late in September set up six teams from the three local area conferences to play in the state tournament. The NCHSAA released the official brackets on Monday. Here is a preview of today’s first round.

2A

South Point (11-2) at Fred T. Foard (14-0):

The two programs are similar as both have made consecutive runs after a long absence from the dual team state tournament.

After missing the field from 2007 to 2016, Foard is in its third straight tournament. Foard enters the playoffs as the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference champions for the second straight year and is looking to advance past the first round after beating Pisgah last year. It was the Tigers’ first playoff win since at least 2005 (the NCHSAA does not have brackets available prior to 2006).

South Point is also in its third straight playoff after sitting out from 2012 to 2016. The Red Raiders have not won a playoff match since prior to 2006. They enter the tournament as the champion of the Southwestern 2A Conference.

Expected singles matches (South Point vs. Foard) (Doubles matches are determined at the site):

(Records listed from MaxPreps at the slot played during the season)

No. 1 Brooke Cox (10-3) vs. Alexis Wolgemuth (14-0); No. 2 Dezi Kauer (13-0) vs. Clare Boger (13-1); No. 3 Holland Leonhardt (6-3) vs. Hannah Cummings (13-1); No. 4 Anna Spurrier (6-1) vs. Adia Livert (13-0); No. 5 Grace Nehring (4-0) vs. Maddie Gee (10-3); No.6 Emily Koehler (4-0) vs. Tori Lutz (11-1).

Next up: Owen (9-5) or Lake Norman Charter (9-3)

Pisgah (12-3) at Maiden (9-3)

Co-champions of the South Fork 2A Conference, Maiden returns to the tournament as the defending 2A state champions. With just two rounds at home, the Blue Devils lost just five matches during the five rounds. The program has been a model of excellence during the decade. Maiden has made the playoffs nine of 10 seasons and has won at least one round in seven of them. The Blue Devils have advanced to at least the third round the past three seasons.

Pisgah finished second in the Mountain Six 2A Conference. This is the Black Bears’ sixth state tournament with all of them coming since 2013. They have won two first-round matches, those coming in 2016 and 2017. Pisgah was eliminated by Foard in the first round a year ago.

Expected singles matches (Pisgah vs. Maiden):

No. 1 MaeAnna Norris (12-3) vs. Grace Arrowood (8-4); No. 2 Chloe Medford (12-3) vs. Hannah Sherrill (12-0); No. 3 Chloe Parris (6-5) vs. Macy Sigmon (5-7); No. 4 Kara Mehaffey (8-4) vs. Alyson Soumpholphakdy (7-5); No. 5 Haylee Willis (8-1) vs. Marcee Trouille (2-10); No.6 Ivy McClure (6-6) vs. Emma Shokes (2-2)

Next up: Draughn (8-4) or Hendersonville (14-0)

Draughn (8-4) at Hendersonville (14-0)

Finishing as the runner-up in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference, Draughn returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2015 and the fifth time in school history. The Wildcats made four straight trips to the 2A state tournament starting in 2012 and won the first-round match each year before their elimination in round two. Draughn’s last appearance came during a loss in the second round against Hendersonville.

The Bearcats are making their 25th appearance in the state tournament, which reached its peak with a state title in 2002. A season ago in the quarterfinals, Hendersonville gave Maiden all it could handle during the Blue Devils’ state title run, splitting the singles matches before Maiden took two doubles. The Bearcats have won in the first round the past six years and advanced to the quarterfinals in four of them.

Expected singles matches (Draughn vs. Hendersonville):

No. 1 Hailey Kincaid (8-2) vs. McCollough Perry (14-0); No. 2 Abby Parker (10-1) vs. Lindsay Bull (13-1); No. 3 Haley Lowman (7-3) vs. Olivia Pursley (13-1); No. 4 Katie Cozort (9-1) vs. Anna Trace (13-1); No. 5 Kaitlyn Kincaid (5-5) vs. Celia Donaldson (14-0); No.6 Regan Winkler (8-2) vs. Anne Jones (14-0)

Next up: Pisgah (12-3) or Maiden (9-3)

4A

Porter Ridge (11-2) at South Caldwell (8-3)

This match features two squads looking for rare playoff success.

South Caldwell will make its third straight state playoff appearance and just the fifth overall. However, the Spartans are looking for their first playoff win. Taking the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference’s only 4A bid for the third straight year, South Caldwell fell to Lake Norman in 2018 and Hough in 2017 in home matches.

This is the fifth straight playoff appearance and the 11th overall for Porter Ridge. However, the Pirates have exited in the first round in the previous four years and have two playoff wins in the program’s history — the last win coming in 2011. Porter Ridge received a wild card after finishing a tie for second in the Southwestern 4A Conference.

Expected singles matches (Porter Ridge vs. South Caldwell):

No. 1 Victoria Riabtseva (9-4) vs. Molly Hagerty (5-6); No. 2 Vivian Vassilski (10-2) vs. Taylor Austin (7-0); No. 3 Stacy Vassilski (10-2) vs. Zarina Villacorte (0-6); No. 4 Kimberly Tran (7-4) vs. Graci Neff (7-2); No. 5 Jamie Marano (7-3) vs. Ysabella Villacorte (3-2); No.6 Emajean Thomas (6-3) vs. Gwyneth Frye (3-3)

Next up: Providence (8-5) or Myers Park (11-0)

Other matches involving teams from area conferences:

2A

Lake Norman Charter (9-3) at Owen (9-5)

Lake Norman Charter won three straight 2A titles from 2014 to 2016. The Knights are co-champions with Maiden in the South Fork 2A Conference. Owen won the Western Highlands 1A/2A Conference and is in its third straight playoff. The Warhorses have just one playoff win in 10 previous tries.

3A

Stuart Cramer (7-5) at Watauga (9-0)

Watauga will make its 25th state playoff appearance after winning the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference. However, the Pioneers are looking to advance past the first round for the first time since dropping into the 3A class. Prior to that, Watauga won five straight first-round matches. Stuart Cramer was the runner-up in the Big South 3A Conference. The Storm are in their third state playoff, but looking for their first win after losses in 2015 and 2016.

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