Powered by the return of two-time All-Lowcountry senior Austin Heinz and the arrival of sixth-grader Luke Prendergast, Palmetto Christian Academy (6-5) is headed to the SCISA Class A-AA boys tennis state championship match after dealing Myrtle Beach Christian Academy a 7-2 loss Friday afternoon at Family Circle Tennis Center.
The state final will be played Monday against defending champion Spartanburg Day at 4 p.m. at the Cayce Tennis Center in Columbia. Spartanburg Day dethroned the Eagles in last year's state final while Heinz was training at Nick Bollettieri's Academy in Florida.
"They (Spartanburg) have a good team," veteran PCA coach Dewey Caulder said. "Everyone will have to step up. But I feel really good about the top two positions. Monday will be Austin's last match and it will be Luke's first final.
"Austin has been playing since sixth grade minus last year. It would be good to see him go out with a sixth state championship (seven total for the boys program) in his senior year. He has meant a lot to the PCA tennis program and will make some college coach/program that much more happy and successful."
Both Heinz and Prendergast scored easy victories in Friday's state semifinals as the Eagles won the top three singles matches and wrapped up the trip to the state final by taking five of the six singles.
PALMETTO CHRISTIAN 7,
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 2
Singles: Austin Heinz (PCA) def. Allen Butler, 6-0, 6-0; Luke Prendergast (PCA) def. Ian McCauley, 6-2, 6-0; Trey Goolsby (PCA) def. Jason DiGeronimo, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8; Tyler Underwood (MBC) def. Brandon Kassouf, 6-4, 6-4; Michael Pernell (PCA) def. Brandon MacDonald, 6-4, 6-4; P.J. Noce (PCA) def. Paul Game, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles: Butler/McCauley (MBC) def. Goolsby/Kassouf, 8-1; Prendergast/Noce (PCA) def. DiGeronimo/Underwood, 8-0; Pernell/Matthew Bottone (PCA) def. MacDonald/Game, 8-3.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.