The boys and girls tennis teams took a major step toward potential state playoff berths this weekend. Traveling to Burke County, they needed successive wins over both Burke County and Hepzibah. If a split were to occur, it would send the region into a 3-way tie for the playoff berth. The players met the challenge head-on and took all four matches.
Michael Zhu, Chris Noonburg and Jason Trankle led the way in the singles department with powerful 6-0 wins in both matches. Nick Balas and Ethan Lane had little trouble at the No. 1 doubles slot and were quickly followed by a successful No. 2 doubles team of John Rush and Kyle Guither – all in 2 set shutouts over both Burke Co. and Hepzibah.
The boys now have a 4-0 record in the region, are ranked No. 7 in the state, and are in excellent position to win the region. They need a win against South Effingham next week to lock in the state playoffs.
Emily Stephens, Fiona Baer and Sofia Donleavy all played steady tennis and had there way with the singles play. Christina Rodriguez and Lauren Trivitayakum won over Hepzibah but lost in a split set decision against Hepzibah. Sheena Naik and Kristen Quon did an excellent job substituting for injuries as did freshman Rachel Greminger. The doubles girls had not seen action all year, yet played like veterans in these matches.
Sofia Donleavy had the final point against Burke County that came in a split set tie breaker. Sofia outlasted her opponent which featured a 10-8 win and a three hour match.
The girls are now guaranteed a slot in the region playoffs and have an excellent opportunity to advance to state.
"The teams are as ready as they can get," Coach Pat Paruso said. "They have matured into pretty good teams. The line-up might still need some tweaking, but it can’t get much stronger."
The Wildcats have two regular season games left before the regional playoffs at home on April 15.