CLOVER — The Lady Blue Eagles tennis team defeated Mauldin 4-2 in opening-round 4A playoff action.
“It was a big win to start the playoffs,” head coach Renee Farris said of the grueling Oct. 29 match at the Clover High School tennis courts.
“We won three of four third-set matches,” said Farris.
The Lady Blue Eagles were beaten 6-0 by Irmo in the second round of the playoffs, Farris said, but the CHS girls made their presence felt, playing competitive matches.
In the Mauldin match, Farris said No. 4 singles player, Anna Miszkiewicz, and No. 5, Anna Drechsler, lost the first set and fought back to win.
Miszkiewicz said staying with her style of play as a human retaining wall works to her advantage, especially when back-and-forth volleying extends the game.
The Lady Blue Eagle mainstay pressed Mauldin’s Emma Delaby to the limit, losing the first match 4-6 before rallying to capture the second match 6-4 and prevailing 10-3 in the tiebreaker.
“I keep the ball in play and continue to return shots, waiting for my opponent to make a mistake,” Miszkiewicz said. “I would say the lob is my best shot.”
Several deep Miszkiewicz lobs to the baseline forced Delaby into game-changing, and sometimes set-changing miscues.
The Lady Blue Eagles’ No. 1 singles player, Harriet Hall, cruised 6-2 in the first set and 1-0 in the second set by injury default.
Hall said there was no particular emphasis in one phase of the game in the opening playoff match. “I played with confidence in all phases of the game,” she said.
In her first year of playing No. 1 singles, Hall has developed the confidence and the mindset that goes with it.
“You have to accept the challenge of competing against our opponent’s No. 1 singles player,” she said. “You have to keep your focus.”
Occupying the No. 2 singles slot, Clover’s Corey Brom dominated her opponent in the first set, winning 6-0. Brom lost 7-5 in set No. 2 before losing a 10-8 nail-biter in the tiebreaker.
“It was a hard fought match that could’ve gone either way,” Brom said.
After playing the No. 5 singles last year, the CHS standout elevated her play to reach No. 2. “I worked hard to improve my game and work my way up to No. 2,” she said.
In other singles results, Clover’s No. 3, Grace Miller, was beaten 6-3, 6-1, while teammate Anna Drechsler survived a marathon match by scores of 3-6, 7-6 (1), 10-7.
Holley Rowland and Ali King were victorious at No. 2 doubles by scores of 6-3, 3-6, 10-7.
Farris lauded the players for laying it on the line throughout the season. “We have a great group of girls,” she said. “They’ve worked hard to improve their game.”