Lady Knights duo falls in regional

GOLDSBORO — For the second straight year, West Bladen’s doubles champions from the Four County Conference drew the No. 1 team from the School of Science and Math in the first round of the East Regional, and couldn’t make a dent on the scoreboard.

Alanna Ludlum and Amber Long, who went undefeated through the conference season en route to winning the Four County’ tournament earlier this month, fell on Friday in Goldsboro 6-0 and 6-0 to the duo of Sara Yuan and Annie Xie.

“We could hit with them but they were better on the technical end with great form and technique on all of their shots,” said West Bladen coach Jeff Atkinson. “We scored some points on them but we just could not seem to put enough together in a row to take some games.”

Atkinson said Ludlum and Long had at least five games that went to deuce before the Science and Math team finished things out.

“Sara Yuan played in the state finals last year both in team competition and in doubles,” Atkinson added. “I wish the NCHSAA would look at redoing the format for the regionals. I feel that you should not have a NO. 1 from one conference have to play another No. 1 team, especially the No. 1 seed, in the first round.

“I hate it that the draw hurt us again because I strongly feel that our girls were a top eight team in our region,” he said, “but I am proud of our girls on what they have accomplished this year and I hope they can use this to build on for next year. I feel they will be a very solid team again next year and hope they continue to work on their game.”

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