ALEXANDRIA — Haley White and Mallory Conrad admitted they felt more pressure this year entering the 10th Region tournament. The prior two yieled a 10th Region title and a runner-up finish.
A state tournament berth was on the line for the third straight year as the duo entered Monday’s quarterfinals against Campbell County’s Elizabeth Nadeau and Anna Maren.
After getting the early nerves out the way, White and Conrad cruised into the semifinal round with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over the Lady Camels duo.
“With Mallory being a senior I especially wanted this for her,” White said. “That was our goal was to get back to state and to do it for a third time is special for the both of us.”
Giving up an early game, the two rolled to take the final 10 games of the match, one that included White recording four straight aces in the second set.
“It’s always the first game that’s nerve-wracking. You want to get ahead that first game,” Conrad said. “I don’t recall missing any volleys at the net and Haley had a really good service game.”
White and Conrad will now take on the Pendleton County team of Sadie Wright and Baleigh Tackett. The Lady ‘Cats pulled their second straight upset of the tournament with a 3-6, 6-1, 10-5 win over Harrison County’s Liza Gossett and Jensen Sullivan, the No. 3 seed. Wright and Tackett defeated Bourbon County’s Addy Kiser and Karly Black in the round of 32, 6-3, 6-2, the Bourbon County duo as the No. 5 seed. Now they’ll get the No. 1 seed.
“That’s the big thing is we’ve wanted to focus on just one match at a time. They (White and Conrad) got runner-up at region last year and I’ve told them to enter every match with a chip on their shoulder this year,” Mason County coach Matt Jolley said. “It only gets more difficult from here, haven’t seen this team they play much, they’re a good team and I don’t think our girls will take them lightly.”
Campbell County’s Sydney Melton/McDowell and Montgomery County’s Eden Covington and Kenley Grimes will be joining the two in the semifinals. Melton/McDowell defeated Mason County’s Kiersten Coleman and Autumn Benedict, 6-1, 6-0. Covington and Grimes defeated Pendleton County’s Mallory Kordes and Alexis Magee, 6-2, 6-2. Covington/Grimes are the No. 2 seed, Melton/McDowell the No. 4.
Four other area singles or doubles teams had their shot at state births. The boys’ doubles team of Gavin Gilbert/Josh Coleman took the No. 2 seeded Bourbon County team of Matthew Dampier and Jared Cote to the brink. The Royals duo held a 7-6 third set tiebreak lead until the favorites closed out the match with the final four points.
Gilbert/Coleman dropped the first set 6-1, they’d bounce back to take the second set 6-4, forcing the do-or-die tie-breaking third set played to 10 points. Neither team able to break away from the beginning of the tiebreak, it was Gilbert and Coleman scoring three straight to take a 4-2 lead. Dampier/Cote bounced back to take a 5-4 lead, eventually with things knotted up at six. Gilbert and Coleman scored the next point, but the Colonels duo rallied to score the next four and take the match.
“They lost the first set 6-1 and could have rolled over and thought they weren’t as good, but they didn’t. A couple points here or there and maybe a different result,” Jolley said. “I was proud of how they handled it, couldn’t have asked for a better effort.
St. Patrick’s Logan and Evan Kalb were also looking at a return trip to the state tournament after a semifinal appearance in the 10th Region tournament last year. Entering as the No. 5 seed, the Kalb brother’s dropped their match to the No. 4 seed, Montgomery County’s Boone Hart and Matthew Jenkins, 6-4, 6-4. Unforced errors looked to be the big difference-maker as the Indians duo outlasted the Saints duo.
“That was one of the teams we lost to during the season. They needed to get out that first set and get a lead and just kind of show them that they wanted to win this one,” Saints coach Bettsy Kalb said. “It’s tough having brother’s play, one of them being a senior and the other wanting it so much for his older brother. Logan’s going to Transy and is going to play tennis there. It was a good match, well matched players and it was very close as far as ability.”
In other boys’ doubles action, the No. 1 seeded Campbell County team of Noah Bertsch/Nick Wittrock defeated Montgomery County’s Clark Brann and Alex Nesmith, 6-2, 6-4. George Rogers Clark’s Isaac Graham and Maxwell Clark defeated Harrison County’s Marshall and Jeremiah Peveler 6-3, 6-0, the Cardinals duo as the No. 3 seed.
Campbell County’s Anderson McDowell is looking for his third straight 10th Region boys’ singles title and has yet to lose a game, knocking off George Rogers Clark’s Luke Martin, 6-0, 6-0. McDowell will get Harrison County’s Dason Herrington in the semifinals, who knocked off Mason County’s Nate Campbell, 6-2, 6-1. Herrington coming in as the No. 4 seed. Campbell stayed in rallies, but Herrington’s power seemed to overwhelm Campbell at times.
“Nate was dealing with a little bit of a back injury, I don’t know how much of a difference it woulf have made, but Dason is only an eighth grader and Nate will have to figure out a way to beat these types of players to take the next step,” Jolley said.
McDowell’s teammate Luke Williams, a No. 3 seed, joined McDowell and Herrington in the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Montgomery County’s Joe South. Williams faces George Rogers Clarks Tennyson Prater in the semifinals, a walkover winner over Paris’ Yair Romero, Prater is the No. 2 seed.
Natalie Smith is the No. 1 seed in the girls’ singles bracket and showed why with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Harrison County’s Melany Dunnaway. Smith faces George Rogers Clark’s Haley Turley in the semis, Turley a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Nicholas County’s Jenna Sanders. Turley is the No. 3 seed.
Lady Camels Annika White advanced to the semis with an upset over No. 4 seeded Katie Mulcahy from Bourbon County, 6-1, 6-4. White faces Harrison County’s Grace Roberts, defeating Mason County’s Katie Swisshelm, 6-2, 6-1.
“Katie really battled. I was proud of her,” Jolley said. “Katie just hasn’t been able to play as much as she probably would like to. Grace has a lot of experience on her side and hits a good ball.”
Semifinal and championship matches for each tournament will take place on Wednesday at Campbell County High School. Semifinal matches will take place at 4 and 5:15 p.m., with championship matches to follow after a warmup time.
No. 1 A. McDowell (Campbell County) def. L. Martin (GRC), 6-0, 6-0
No. 4 D. Herrington (Harrison County) def. N. Campbell (Mason County), 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 L. Williams (Campbell County) def. No. 6 J. South (Montgomery County), 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 Tennyson Prater (GRC) def. Y. Romero (Paris), walkover
No. 1 N. Smith (Campbell County) def. No. 5 M. Dunnaway (Harrison County), 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 H. Turley (GRC) def. N. Sanders (Nicholas County), 6-0, 6-0
Annika White (Campbell County) def. No. 4 Katie Mulcahy (Bourbon County), 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Grace Roberts (Harrison County) def. K. Swisshlem (Mason County), 6-2, 6-1
No. 1 Bertsch/Wittrock (Campbell County) def. No. 6 Brann/Smith (Montgomery County), 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Graham/Clark (GRC) def. Marshall/Pevelar (Harrison County), 6-3, 6-0
No. 4 Hart/Jenkins (Montgomery County) def. No. 5 Kalb/Kalb (St. Patrick), 6-4, 6-4
No. 2 Dampier/Cote (Bourbon County) def. Coleman/Gilbert (Mason County), 6-1, 4-6, 10-7
No. 1 Conrad/White (Mason County) def. Nadeau/Maren (Campbell County), 6-1, 6-0
Wright/Tackett (Pendleton County) def. No. 3 Gossett/Sullivan (Harrison County), 3-6, 6-1, 10-5
No. 4 Melton/McDowell (Campbell County) def. Coleman/Benedict (Mason County), 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Covington/Grimes (Montgomery County) def. No. 6 Kordes/Magee (Pendleton County), 6-2, 6-2