EAST BEND — The 2017 season started with a lot of promise for the Forbush women’s tennis program. After graduating only two seniors following the 2016 season, the roster was loaded with eight returning players, including all six starters. Despite high hopes and expectations, things were tough out of the gates.
A series of injuries and a slow start hampered the team as the Lady Falcons emerged from their opening slate of matches with an 0-3 record. But that third loss, the first of two tilts against 3A East Forsyth, proved to be a turning point in the season. After that loss, the Falcons rattled off an impressive seven consecutive wins including a 5-0 start to Western Piedmont Athletic Conference play. The winning streak came to an end with losses to Surry County powers, Surry Central and Mount Airy, before the Falcons rebounded to win two of their last three matches and finish the year 9-8 overall with a 7-3 mark in WPAC conference play.
Throughout their strong season, the Falcons would routinely sweep opponents in exhibition play, showing just how strong the team was from top to bottom and also indicating the fierce competition for starting spots during practice. The 7-3 mark in conference was good enough for Forbush to claim second place in the WPAC, which vaulted the Falcons to the NCHSAA 2A Dual Team Playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Forbush paid a visit to East Montgomery in the first round where it was able to win two singles matches, but ultimately came up short in its bid for a team playoff win as the Eagles defeated the Falcons 7-2.
Despite the team loss, the season wasn’t over for the Lady Falcons as the doubles team of Alyssa Southern and Megan Smith had qualified for the 2A Midwest Regional Tournament in Salisbury. Southern and Smith claimed a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory in their opening round match against Oak Grove. This propelled the tandem to a quarterfinal match against Salisbury. In a hard fought match, Southern and Smith came up short as Salisbury advanced.
Despite the loss at Regionals, Southern and Smith’s accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed as they were named All-Conference for the season. In addition to these accolades, Stephanie Swain, Lindsay Ray and Rachel Dixon were all named All-Conference Honorable Mention. It was a solid year for the Lady Falcons and they don’t appear to be finished.
With no seniors on the team, Forbush will be poised to build off their drought-ending playoff appearance with an even stronger season next year.