The third time will be the charm for either Porter-Gaud or Hilton Head Prep when the two schools meet at 4 p.m. today in the SCISA boys Class AAA state tennis championship.
The teams have met twice this season, with each posting a 5-4 victory over the other. A Porter-Gaud victory would give the Cyclones their second straight state title and avenge their only regular season loss in the last two years. The match is at Beaufort Academy.
"This is the rubber game of the match," Porter-Gaud coach Tom Higgins said. "Old coaches shouldn't make predictions, but I think it will be 5-4 one way or another."
Hilton Head Prep advanced with a 6-3 victory over Pinewood Prep. The win gave the Dolphins a 13-2 record and their fourth consecutive trip to the state championship match.
Hilton Head Prep won four of the singles matches against the Panthers as their Nos. 1-4 players won in straight sets. Jared Woodson defeated J.T. Elliget 6-2, 6-0; Mo Hookaylo topped Jacob Cumbie 7-5, 6-3; Aaron Cotton bested Joel Roberts 6-1, 6-2; and Nicky Kunz beat Adam Elliget 6-4, 6-3.
Porter-Gaud's top three players are Elliott Sperr, J.B. Robards and John Steichen. They are a combined 0-6 against the Dolphins' top three, but the Cyclones might be stronger from top to bottom.
"All the matches have been close in the top three singles," Higgins said. "But we might have a little more depth."