Six of the seven positions in Saturday’s Class AA state girls tennis championship match at Columbia’s Cayce Tennis Center saw the winners yield a combined total of just six games.
But in the one pressure-filled match from start to finish, one that ultimately gave Bishop England a 4-3 victory over Christ Church and its second straight state title, the Bishops’ Lauren Quinn played with ice water in her veins. A seventh-grader, Quinn, outlasted Christ Church sophomore Sitton Furman, 6-3, 5-7, 10-5, at No. 4 singles.
“It was an intense match. Lauren played extremely well under the circumstances. She gave a gutsy performance and really stepped it up and handled it well,” said Bishop England coach Kristin Fleming, whose team finished the season with a 22-4 record. “There were a lot of long points, and it came down to Lauren’s consistency.”
Otherwise, Bishop England senior Kelly McManus yielded one game at No. 2 singles, then teamed with junior Hannah Simpson at No. 2 doubles to clinch the state title in a 6-1, 6-0 victory over the Cavaliers’ Pieper sisters, senior Anna and seventh-grader Paula. Power-hitting junior Caroline Yodice collected the fourth win for the Bishops with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Christ Church seventh-grader Gracie Walls at No. 3 singles.
“Kelly played extremely well . . . very consistent and very patient,” Fleming said.
While the young Bishops looked very much capable of adding to their string of state titles next year, Christ Church will have to start a new string. The Cavaliers (15-3) had won five straight Class A state championships, but there wasn’t a playoff in Class A this fall.
“The scores were a little lopsided, but it was a tight match,” said Fleming, who played on four straight state championship teams for the Bishops, starting in 1989. “I had played against Christ Church four times in the state finals when I was in school, so I knew it was going to be a tough match.
“Winning a second state title in a row was great. The girls have worked extremely hard. We had a lot of depth and experience, and it paid off for us.”
Thanks to Quinn’s victory, the Bishops carried a 3-2 advantage into doubles. And they needed all of the wins to set the stage for McManus and Simpson to nail down the championship, while BE’s No. 1 doubles team of seniors Liza Arruda and Emma Schaafsma were on the verge of a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Furman and unbeaten Christ Church singles ace Olivia Lucas.
In addition to Lucas’ success at No. 1 singles (6-0, 6-1 over Arruda) and doubles, the Cavaliers picked up a win at No. 5 singles from senior Pryce Caulder (6-0, 6-1 over BE freshman Gabrielle Dacuba).
SINGLES: Olivia Lucas (CC) def. Liza Arruda, 6-0, 6-1; Kelly McManus (BE) def. Emory Cannon, 6-0, 6-1; Caroline Yodice (BE) def. Gracie Walls, 6-0, 6-0; Lauren Quinn (BE) def. Sitton Furman, 6-3, 5-7, 10-5; Pryce Caulder (CC) def. Gabrielle Dacuba, 6-0, 6-1.
DOUBLES: Lucas/Furman (CC) def. Arruda/Emma Schaafsma, 6-0, 6-2; McManus/Hannah Simpson (BE) def. Anna Pieper/Paula Pieper, 6-1, 6-0.