A tennis match that was suspended by darkness on Thursday, with SCISA defending state champion Porter-Gaud and 2011 runner-up Hilton Head Prep tied at 4-4 with one doubles match still on the court, could decide the Region III title and bracket top seeding in the state playoffs.
However, the match has been scored as a tie and isnít scheduled to be completed, due to the required travel for the Hilton Head team back to Charleston, according to Porter-Gaud coach Brian Burke.
The match was suspended with the Cylonesí No. 2 doubles team of Ann Martin Skelly and Grace Robards scheduled to serve while trailing 6-7 in the pro-set format.
That leaves Hilton Head Prep, whose roster is filled by young, talented players from the islandís tennis academies, in the driverís seat in the region race with only the tie marring its otherwise perfect record. Pinewood Prep was missing two of its top players on Thursday.
The Dolphins already own a 6-3 win over Porter-Gaud, as well as victories over both three-time region loser Ashley Hall and two-time loser Pinewood Prep.
With a loss and a tie, Porter-Gaud has to hope that Ashley Hall (Tuesday at Charleston Tennis Center), Pinewood Prep (TBD) or Hilton Head Christian will derail the Dolphins before the state playoffs open the week of Oct. 15.
A year ago, Porter-Gaud lost both of its regular season encounters with Hilton Head Prep, but prevailed in the state final. The Cyclones had MiíKola Cooper and Annie Hay as their No. 1 and 2 players a year ago.
Hay is all alone now to face the competition at No. 1, which is much more difficult as demonstrated by her one-sided losses to Ashley Hallís Narni Summerall and Hilton Headís Allie Burak this past week on the P-G courts.
ďWe donít have a runaway top couple of players like last year, but I like the way this team pulls together,Ē Burke said.
ďAs long as we make matches tight, we have a chance.Ē