Jillian Russert

Pioneers top seed Jillian Russert has been crucial in Watauga’s dominance.

BOONE — Tuesday, June 1, was another day at the office for the Watauga girls’ tennis team, as they steamrolled their way through the Freedom Patriots to keep their undefeated streak.

At 5-0, Watauga remains the only unbeaten team in the Northwestern 3A/4A conference, with no team having less than three losses on the season. Freedom (1-6) was easy pickings for the Pioneers, with the 9-0 result further establishing them as the conference’s team to beat.

In singles play, no set was closer than Watauga sophomore Laurel West’s 6-2 win over Freedom’s Calissa Stubs. Meanwhile, Amira Younce allowed Ellie Deacon to not get completely shut out, but still won with two 6-1 sets in a row.

Watauga junior Jillian Russert stomped Sara Byrd Succop 6-0 in back-to-back sets. Madison Ogden, Macayla Kanoy and Madeline Hays also served shutouts to their opponents, making the result against Freedom the most lop-sided win of Watauga’s season so far.

In doubles play, Freedom would put up something of a fight, but no matches were close.

Younce and Ogden brought down Succop and Deacon with an 8-2 win. Serena Jewel-Miller and Kanoy teamed up for the win against Hannah Throneburg and Stubbs before Hays and Katie Harrison defeated the freshman duo of Morgan Cargill and Madison Banner 8-1.

Not only is the team in top position with no losses, so are its top-two seeds. Russert and Younce have yet to lose a match on the season, while their escapades in doubles have also seen zeroes in the loss column.

With the shortened season winding down, the Pioneers will look to the playoffs after road matches with Alexander Central on June 8 and South Caldwell on June 9.

The match against Alexander Central (7-4) is a rematch from the Pioneers’ season opener, with the 6-3 scoreline being the closest of the season.

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