The Asheville High girls tennis team had another perfect afternoon on Tuesday.
The Cougars (20-0) defeated West Henderson 8-0, in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs at Asheville. The Cougars will play Hickory in a third-round match on Monday.
“We’re undefeated,” said Adrienne Haynes, the Cougars’ No. 1 player who defeated Savannah Smith of West Henderson, 6-0, 6-0.
“I just played in regionals, and we have a doubles team that made it to state. It’s been really good.”
Haynes, a freshman, who is unbeaten, will be playing in the NCHSAA state individual tournament beginning Friday. Also advancing from Asheville was the double team of Adelyn Luke and Kristie Kim.
“We were very fortunate to get such an incredible freshman player this year,” Cougars coach Sarge Luke said of Haynes. “She’s been amazing and that has really taken the pressure off of us right from the beginning. It just makes it easier on everyone else on the team knowing that we’re going to win our top singles.”
Luke began the season as assistant coach and recently replaced Kris Munnwhaley, who left for another job.
Haynes usually wins her matches ahead of her teammates. However, Luke was able to finish first with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Carolina Herrera.
“I took it step by step. The warm-up is key because you assess your opponents’ weaknesses and strengths,” Adelyn Luke said. “I noticed that her backhands were weaker than her forehands. She had this really good forehand shot that could land right on the line every time, so I tried to keep setters away from her forehand.”
West Henderson, which finished with a school-record 18-6 record, won the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference championship under coach Allen Combs.
“I think West Henderson will do really well after I graduate,” No. 3 singles player and senior Natalie Ciaramitaro said. “They found a great coach and he’s really made us great players.”
Ciaramitaro witnessed progress for both the team and herself during her high school career.
“Personally, I feel like I’ve done really well because I picked up a racket for the first time in my freshman year and I’ve come a long way,” Ciaramitaro said.
“We made it to the second round of playoffs this year, which is pretty impressive. We had a losing record my freshman year and this year we’re undefeated in conference.”