Asheville School's girls tennis team has earned a no. 4 seed as they enter the 3A North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) state tournament. The Blues have a first round bye and will go into the second round with an impressive 12-0 undefeated season.
With a seventh consecutive Carolina Athletics Association (CAA) conference championship, an undefeated season and the highest state tournament seed of any girls tennis team in school history, these athletes are ready to take on the playoffs and continue their streak. "Our team has earned the right to be a top four seed in the NCISAA 3A State Tournament," said Asheville School Athletic Director Carl Boland. "We've traveled to other 3A programs around the state and earned decisive victories in all of them. Most of all, our girls have worked extremely hard in the off-season and pre-season to prepare themselves to compete at this level."
Head Coach Derry Roberson says the team's success is due to the strength across the lineup, which is evident in their conference and state honors. The Blues' no. 1 player, Sarah Abernethy, was voted CAA player of the year and earned All-CAA and All-State honors. Rachel Kuehn, Kirina Shah and Lillie Bridges all earned All-CAA honors for the season as well.
"Having Sarah and Rachel in the top two positions for the past three years has given both of them a huge amount of confidence during competition," Roberson said. "A new addition to the team, Kirina Shah--no. 3 singles and no. 2 doubles--offers an aggressive, hard-hitting baseline game. Four-year senior and captain Lillie Bridges at no. 4 singles, the unstoppable backboard no. 5 Anna Bernstein, and newcomer no. 6 Blakeney Boldrick all work to fill our lineup with great energy and passion for competition."
Roberson says that while these athletes may be the top six players, the team's success depends on the talent across the board. She says that SK Edwards, Madeleine Hepting and Caroline Bridges were all crucial to making this year's undefeated regular season a reality. "Our girls have all worked hard over the course of the season to build each other up and to push each other in daily competition no matter what number they currently are on the team," Roberson said.
Roberson says that the athletes' commitment to doubles play has also had a big influence on the team's success. "The Blues have significantly raised the level in doubles play by being more aggressive both at net and from the baseline and as a result have lost very few doubles matches over the course of the season," she said.
Update: The Blues fell 1 - 5 to Greensboro Day during their October 21 match. While the Blues were disappointed, we congratulate them on a wonderful season!