DUBLIN — In the Four County Conference opener on Thursday, East Bladen’s tennis ladies traveled to face West Bladen, a team that was reeling from there straight non-conference losses to two solid Robeson County teams. By contrast, the Lady Knights were playing their eighth match of the season, while the Lady Eagles were playing in their first.
That early season experience showed right from the start. West Bladen whitewashed the visitors, 9-0.
In singles action, Alanna Ludlum easily took care of things with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 1 for West Bladen over the Lady Eagles’ Kathryn Cole and No. 4 Madison Singletary served up a shutout, 6-0 and 6-0, for West Bladen over East’s Maddie West. In the No. 5 match, Haley Dimery started off slow but earned a 6-3, 6-0 win for West over the Lady Eagles’ Laney Cross.
But not all of the singles matches were easy West Bladen wins.
At No. 2, East Bladen’s Justyna Gargala gave Amber Long of West Bladen all she could handle before the Lady Knights picked up a 6-1, 6-7 (7-5) and 10-5 win; at No. 3, Helen Lopez gave West a 6-4, 6-4 win over Cassie Hill; and, over on the No. 6 court, West Bladen’s Rachel Bryan was in a catfight with the Lady Eagles’ Trinity Carroll. The match went three sets before Bryan took a 4-6, 7-5 and 10-8 win.
Already securing the conference “W” with a 6-0 lead going into the doubles matches, West Bladen outscored East Bladen by a 24-9 margin en route to the sweep.
Ludlum and Long teamed up for an 8-3 win at No. 1 over the duo of Cole and Hill; at No. 2, West’s tandem of Lopez and Singletary earned an 8-2 win over East’s West and Carroll; and, at No. 3, the Lady Knights’ Conner Brisson and Savannah Lee beat East Bladen’s twosome of Ting Lin and Jayme Frady, 8-4.
West Bladen is now 5-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference. The Lady Knights will travel to Lumberton on Wednesday for a non-conference match against the Lady Pirates. East Bladen, now 0-1 will travel to face Clinton in a conference match on Tuesday.
— The Lady Knights continued their surge with a five-set win over visiting Union in the Four County Conference opener by the scores of 18-25, 25-14, 25-13, 19-25 and 15-10 on Thursday.
Morgan Schumacher led West Bladen with 13 service winners and had five aces, six kills and 2.5 blocks. Kassidy Anderson added 10 service points with five aces and three kills, while Logan Autry contributed nine service points with two aces and five kills.
Lorna Smith had eight service winners with four aces, three kills and 1.5 blocks, while Kathryn Schultz had five aces, six kills and 2.5 blocks. Laikyn Pait added four kills.
— In Dunn on Thursday, East Bladen dropped three straight to Midway in the Four County Conference opener by the scores of 25-15, 25-12 and 25-13.
Lacey Suggs led the Lady Eagles with six service points and five kills.
— At Lake Waccamaw, East Bladen rallied for two second-half goals, but came up short Wednesday in a 3-2 non-conference loss to East Columbus.
The Gators scored a first-half goal for a 1-0 halftime lead before Brooks McGill tallied two goals off feeds from Greyson Heustess and Kevin Nunoz. But East Columbus matched the goals to nip the Eagles.
East Bladen will host East Columbus on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
— In Whiteville on Thursday, West Bladen battled Whiteville to a 0-0 halftime knot, but the Wolfpack tallied three unanswered goals in the second half to take a 3-0 non-conference win.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.