Albemarle girls tennis falls to Atlee in conference semifinals

Photo by Bart Isley

Albemarle’s girls tennis team drew a tough matchup in the Conference 16 semifinals this week and the Patriots fell 5-1 to Atlee, ending the Patriots’ campaign.


“We can’t really blame all these recent days off with the rain and all season we’d had days where we were just not playing well,” said Albemarle coach Rich Lindsay via email. “In this one I think the way they play allowed them to just jump on us early yesterday, by the time we woke up a little and started to rally on a couple of courts… the rains came. “


The match which was stretched to a second day due to Thursday’s rain with the match finally completed Friday.


Shelby Morton of Atlee was the first to notch a win on court five Thursday, besting Margaux Hapgood 6-0, 6-1 to take the early 1-0 lead for Atlee. Then the rains came with most the courts stopping early in the second set


On Friday Albemarle looked to rally as Beth Shafer registered a win for the Patriots at No. 3 by defeating Taylor Keller 6-3, 6-2. But Atlee had a pair of sisters in the top two slots and they settled down with Emily Wanderling knocking off Grace Barrett-Johnson in the top seeded match and then sister Alison Wanderling helping the Raider cause by holding off Maddie Williamson 6-0, 6-2.  


With Atlee holding a 3-1 advantage attention shifted to the No. 4 match where senior Leah Lord had charged back to even the second set at 4 all against Emily Dages. The 9th game of the set was back and forth and after several deuces Dages broke serve and then held to take the match 6-2, 6-4.


The lone remaining singles match didn’t start until Friday but just like Thursday Atlee came out early with the lead. Gillian Emerson jumped all over freshman Kelsey Marks to go up 4-1 in the first, but Marks settled her nerves and came storming back to knot the opening set at 4. Emerson, who hits forehand from both sides of the baseline steadied her play though and took the first set 6-4.  From there handled Marks power and slowly climbed closer until finally taking the second set 6-1 to take the match and give Atlee the team win.  


Albemarle finishes the year at 10-3 while Atlee will travel next week to Patrick Henry- Roanoke for the Conference team final after the Conference 16 Individual Tournament which starts on Monday in Roanoke.


“I’m really proud of these girls and effort and energy they gave to this season, especially Maddie, Leah and Katie, our seniors,” Lindsay said. “Those girls have won a lot of matches over the past four years and this program is sure gonna miss them.”


Atlee 5, Albemarle 1


  1. Emily Wanderling (At) d. Grace Barrett- Johnson 6-0. 6-2
  2. Alison Wanderling(At.) d. Maddie Williamson 6-0, 6-2
  3. Beth Shafer (A) d. Taylor Keeler 6-3, 6-2
  4. Emily Dages(At) d. Leah Lord 6-2, 6-4
  5. Shelby Morton(At) d. Margaux Hapgood 6-0, 6-1
  6. Gillian Emerson(At) d. Kelsey Marks 6-4, 6-1