WILLIAMSTON — Franklin Academy’s tennis team advanced to the second round of the women’s dual team 1A state playoffs with a convincing 5-0 win against Riverside Martin, in a match played Tuesday in Williamston.
The Patriots will play at Gates County High School in Tuesday’s second round. Gates County is the reigning Coastal 10 conference champion.
Riverside Martin of the Two Rivers Conference was no stranger to Franklin Academy as the two teams have faced each other on three occasions, including twice in recent playoffs.
“We fought to 5-4 victories in those matches,” said Franklin Academy coach Gregg Duffy.
Two weeks ago, the Patriots defeated Riverside Martin 5-4 in the regular season.
“Today, we won in a more dominating fashion,” Duffy said.
Franklin Academy, the No. 2 seeded team from the North Central Athletic Conference, drew the No. 1 seeded Riverside Martin after losing a coin flip with Raleigh Charter, having tied them with identical conference records of 7-1.
Against Riverside Martin this time around, Duffy said his same two players as the last meeting won in singles more quickly than the others.
Krysten Le, playing No. 3 singles, won 6-0, 6-2 over Rebecca Lamb and Brianna Kusilek, at No. 4 singles, defeated Blake Hardison 6-3, 6-2.
“These two were our only singles winners the last time we played them,” Duffy said, “and they continued their strong play today.”
In two close matches, the Patriots’ No. 1 singles player Casey Langer and Kinsey Ness, the No. 2 player, won in three-set matches.
Ness, who has been playing through injuries this season, especially with her back, had a scary moment in her match when she collapsed in pain.
Following a short break, she fought back to take the second set and then the tie-breaker, 10-8.
“We still had two matches going, needing only to win one to put the match away,” Duffy said.
Franklin Academy’s sixth singles player, Taylor Henrie provided that win with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat over McKayla Rogers.
“Taylor had lost to McKayla two weeks earlier, so it was satisfying for her and us that she cemented our win today,” Duffy said.
Duffy said Erin Connell’s singles match was stopped as was the No. 1 doubles match that had begun.
In that match, Lauren Emer had taken Ness’s place.
“It was a very satisfying win for us after having so many close matches with them,” Duffy said. “I am extremely proud of all of them, but especially Casey and Kinsey, who defeated quality opponents in trying circumstances.”
In the conference tournament played last week, Langer, the No. 3 seed, advanced and will play in the singles of the Regional Individual Tournament in Greenville on Friday.
The Patriots doubles team of Le and Henrie will also compete in the individual tournament.
Franklin Academy finished the regular season with an overall record of 9-2.