Owen girls tennis team dominates conference but falls in playoffs

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Senior Bailey Mundy returns to regionals after a defeat last season.

The Owen High girls tennis won its conference but suffered a defeat in the first round of the dual team playoffs Oct. 20. 

Coach Chris Barcklow said the team won conference pretty easily with only one team providing a challenge. He said he expects big things from the three seniors as the season comes to an end. 

"We had a taste of some good tennis," Barcklow said. "We've never won a playoff round."

Owen, seeded ninth in the team playoffs, finished with a 10-3-1 record after its 6-0 loss to East Surry. 

Senior Mattie Lehman returns to regionals as the top singles candidate for the Warhorses.

For some Owen players, the loss in the dual team postseason did not mark the end of their season, as they prepared to compete in the individual state tournament regionals that began Oct. 22.

Senior Mattie Lehman, the top singles candidate for regionals and most likely Owen athlete of the year, according to Barcklow, won the conference singles title. Lehman's singles record sits at 10-3. 

"I'm hoping to go to state," Lehman said. "I think I could. Just do my best."

The two other seniors, Bailey Mundy and Frances Holladay, won the conference doubles title. The duo holds a record of 7-3 in doubles. 

Although a little apprehensive, in light of this season's success, Mundy said she's optimistic about more wins as the season nears its end. 

"I'm really nervous but have high hopes," Mundy said. "We have a really good team this year, I think we can do it."

Mundy said last season, the team played the state champions in regionals and got out the first round. With a stronger team this year, she said she's more hopeful of their chances.

Holladay, Mundy's partner in doubles, said she feels good about the duo's chances but needs her partner's confidence to stay strong. She said Mundy's a very capable player and as long as the two stay confident, match play should go smoothly.

"I've had some ups and downs," Holladay said. "As long as she's OK, then I'll be OK."

For the three seniors who've been to regionals before, Barcklow said the losses in previous seasons should help disband anxiety the players face surrounding approaching the season finale. 

"Trying to be realistic, but we've got a good chance," Barcklow said.