CLOVER — The Clover High School boys’ tennis team captured the Region 3-AAAA championship with Monday’s 5-1 win against the Rock Hill Bearcats.
The Blue Eagles finished the season with a 15-0 record and unblemished in region play at 13-0.
“Our kids worked hard this season and exceeded expectations,” said Clover coach Phil Wingard. “We stayed with our philosophy of keeping the ball in play.”
The Blue Eagles’ opponent for the first playoff match, which will be played at home, has yet to be determined.
The Clover team defeated York Comprehensive High School Friday at York.
And three days before the York match, the Blue Eagle tennis team defeated a strong Nation Ford squad 5-1.
“It was a hard-fought match that lasted over three hours, with huge region implications,” Wingard said of the Nation Ford match. “Our kids were resilient.”
In the York match, the Blue Eagles were dominant early, with Justin White and Rob Long prevailing 6-3, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively, at No. 1 and 2 singles.
Sean Elder and Cameron Scobie prevailed 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles.
But the Cougars came to life, with No. 3 singles player Terry Doan and No. 4 Matthew Goforth surviving marathon matches. Doan won 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 tiebreaker and Goforth prevailed 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 tiebreaker.
York’s No. 5 singles player, Cameron Good, won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
The teams finished deadlocked at 3-all, forcing a decisive seventh match at No. 1 doubles, with White and Patrick Smith prevailing 6-1, 6-2 and staking the visiting Blue Eagles to a narrow 4-3 win.
“The dominant Blue Eagle duo slammed the door on York’s upset bid and earned a tie for the region crown,” said Wingard.
First-year York head tennis coach Rusty Graham lauded the Cougar players for extending Clover to the limit.
“Patrick Newberry and Cameron Good couldn’t pull it out at No. 1 doubles but gave it their best shot,” said Graham.
“We’ve had quite a few matches that were closely played,” he said. “But in the end, the guys always play hard and I am very proud of their effort.”
The CHS coach and players are familiar with the playoff grind. “The same preparations we used in the regular season will apply to the playoffs,” said Wingard.