CLOVER — The Clover High School boys’ tennis team finished the season with a sparkling 16-1 record after losing a close 4-3 match to Mauldin in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.
The Blue Eagles, 14-0 in the region and Region 3-AAAA champions for the first time since 2006, extended the match with their keep-it-in-play offense before losing to an inspired Mauldin team from Greenville County.
Clover’s No. 2 doubles team of Cameron Scobie and Sean Elder forced a No. 1-doubles tiebreaker to decide the match by defeating Mauldin’s No. 2 doubles team before an enthusiastic crowd.
While keeping the ball in play with effective ground strokes and lobs, Scobie and Elder showed aggressive play at the net at crucial stages.
“We always play with the right mentality, regardless of the score,” Scobie said after the match. “We play to win.”
Elder said the two have meshed since the beginning of the season.
“After a few matches early in the season, we became one mind, knowing what to expect from the other’s play,” said Elder.
Both Scobie and Elder said they weren’t aware a loss would have spelled victory for Mauldin.
The visitors from Mauldin prevailed in the No. 1 doubles showdown, featuring a tough one-two punch.
“Mauldin had the best top two players of any team we played this season,” said head coach Phil Wingard. “They came in as a No. 4 seed and played well. Last year, we beat a No. 3 seed in the playoffs.”
Wingard praised Clover’s No. 2 doubles team for forcing the tiebreaker and all the Blue Eagles for completing the 16-1 season and region championship.
Playing No. 5 singles, Clover’s Holden McGill won his match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. “I served well and kept the ball in play,” said McGill.
Though pleased with the win, McGill said, there were times he felt he wasn’t in command. “The match was closer than the score indicated,” he said.
No. 1 singles player Justin White and No. 2 Patrick Smith became familiar with Mauldin’s successful 1-2 combination after losing singles matches to the twosome.
“Their No. 1 singles is the best I played this season,” said White. “He had a strong backhand. I tried to keep the ball deep.”
Smith, a steady force all season, also spoke highly of his opponent.
“He had a good forehand and a lot of top spin,” said Smith. “Mauldin is the best team we played this season.”