First-year Bishop England coach Frank DiNardo is excited about the Bishops’ chances in the High School League’s Class AA-A boys tennis state playoffs.
The top-seeded Bishops (6-0) will take on Williston-Elko at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Pleasant’s LTP Tennis in a Lower State semifinal match. The winner will advance to next Thursday’s Lower State final against either Academic Magnet or perennial power Waccamaw.
While Bishop England had a first-round bye on Thursday, Williston-Elko posted a 6-0 win over Manning.
“I think we’ve got a good shot at winning the Lower State,” DiNardo said. “Our boys have been training hard.”
That’s despite the return of only one starter — senior No. 1 Steven Weaver — from the starting singles lineup that carried the Bishops to last year’s Lower State semifinals.
Since the Bishops’ one-sided losses in early season scrimmages against SCISA Class AAA champion Porter-Gaud and Pinewood Prep, DiNardo has juggled his lineup with good results.
“We made stategic changes for the better of the team,” said Dinardo. “The boys accepted the changes well.”
After 2011 All-Lowcountry performer Weaver, the Bishops’ Nos. 2-5 singles lineup is made up of junior Tristan Fletcher, senior Matthew Csernica, sophomore Noah Stiepel and senior Rowe Hicks.
Lower State No. 3 seed Academic Magnet (9-5) suffered a pair of losses to Bishop England in Region 6-AA and finished second to the Bishops in the region race. Academic Magnet’s match against No. 2 seed Waccamaw is 5 p.m. Tuesday at Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet.
Perennial state champion Christ Church of Greenville is the top seed in Upper State Class AA-A.
In the Class AAAA playoffs, Summerville, James Island, Ashley Ridge and Stratford all were eliminated in the first round. Wando suffered a 6-0 loss to Lexington in the second round.