The Wilson Hall and Robert E. Lee Academy girls tennis teams are set to open their respective SCISA state tennis playoffs with quarterfinal road matches on Tuesday following very successful seasons for both programs.
REL travels to Hilton Head to …
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REL travels to Hilton Head to face Hilton Head Prep in the 2A playoffs while the Barons make the trip to Columbia to face Cardinal Newman in the 3A playoffs. If either team wins its match on Tuesday, It will advance to the semifinals to be played at Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter on Friday.
It's been business as usual for a Wilson Hall team that is 23-8 over the past two years and routinely makes the state tournament. However, it's a whole new experience for the Cavaliers who finished 7-2 this season and haven't made the playoffs since 2013.
The Cavaliers are a senior-laden team peaking at the right time for first-year head coach Bo Bo Moore and assistant coach Donna White.
"We practiced in the summer before school started, and I didnt know what to expect to tell you the truth," said Moore. "All I knew was that I could teach them some basics and some tactical knowledge, and that's what's worked for us, is just playing a little bit more tactical. It's been fun because they've seen themselves getting better in just about every practice."
Robert E. Lee's only losses have been to Christian Academy, one of the top teams in the state. The Cavaliers have a tall task in front of them today, however, in Hilton Head Prep. The Dolphins enter the match with a 12-1 record and are winners of 11 straight matches.
It also doesn't help that Cavaliers haven't played them yet this season either.
"They always have a great tennis program down there," said Moore "That's tennis country down there in Hilton Head. All we try to do is practice the drills that can beat anybody if you do them correctly. We practice a 2-shot routine where you try to pull your opponent off the court to open up the court for the next shot. Hopefully that works no matter who we play."
Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, Moore has been thrilled with his team's progress and the support from the REL community.
"We're just getting better every match and every practice," said Moore."The experience with these girls has been second to none. They're great girls and they all get along and they have fun together, and that makes it all worthwhile. My goal was to make their senior year memorable by having fun, and when you're winning it's a lot easier to have fun. The parents of these players have been so supportive, and I want to commend them. It sure makes my job easier. I'm very appreciative."
Meanwhile, the Barons have the luxury of playing a team they've already beaten once this season in Cardinal Newman. Wilson Hall downed the Cardinals 6-3 at Palmetto Tennis Center on Aug. 27.
Now they'll battle with a shot at advancing to the SCISA state semifinals. The championship round will be played on Saturday at PTC as well.
The Barons lost in the semifinals last year.
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