Wando and Bishop England both moved to within a victory of starting new state championship winning streaks in girls tennis Thursday as they captured Lower State crowns.

Wando (18-2) posted a 5-1 win over host Lexington in the Class AAAA playoffs, while Bishop England (19-5) took the advantage in singles before sweeping the doubles for a 5-2 victory in Mount Pleasant over two-time defending Class AA state champion Waccamaw.

The Warriors and Bishops next play for state championships Saturday morning at Columbia's Cayce Tennis Center. Wando will play in its eighth straight final and sixth consecutive final against defending Class AAAA champion Mauldin, which ended the Warriors' streak of six straight state titles a year ago.

Bishop England, which won state titles in 2007 and 2008, will return to the state final after a two-year absence.

"This was the best match we've played this season," said first-year Wando coach Tyler Davis. "If we play like we played today, we have a legitimate shot against Mauldin."

With junior Catherine Martin and freshman Melanie Allen scoring one-sided wins in the top two positions, the Warriors moved into position to advance when senior Alex Klein posted a three-set win at No. 3 singles.

Wando's No. 2 doubles team of senior Courtney Lopresti and junior Legare Passailague outlasted Lexington's No. 2 doubles team of Mary Weston Lawrence and Sarah Katherine Eckstrom, 6-3, 3-6, 11-9, to clinch the Lower state title. Freshman Annie Stuart Pride then finished off a close win at No. 5 singles to complete the 5-1 win.

"To win No. 2 doubles and No. 5 singles in tight matches was a big confidence builder for us going into the final. It was just the way I would like to win. You learn from these type matches," Davis said.

"Hopefully we can get another streak going."

Mauldin advanced to Saturday's final with a 4-2 win over Dutch Fork in the Upper State final.

The Class AA Lower State final was a classic between two teams that have been dominant over the years, Waccamaw having won five of the last seven titles.

Bishop England coach Kristin Fleming split her top players in doubles and played both doubles matches after the Bishops had taken a 3-2 edge in singles. Sophomore Hannah Simpson, junior Kelli McManus and senior Charlie Gaffney took the last three singles spots for the Bishops, dropping a total of only 10 games.

BE No. 1 player Liza Arruda played with Emma Schaafsma to defeat Waccamaw's top two players, Tolley Rice and Sarah Elliott, by rallying from a set down to win No. 1 doubles to clinch the victory.

Simpson, who played No. 3 singles for the Bishops, then teamed with regular No. 2 doubles player Hunter St. Laurent to give the Bishops the doubles sweep.


Singles: Catherine Martin (W) def. Katie Thompson, 6-3, 6-2; Melanie Allen (W) def. Laura Howard, 6-1, 6-3; Alex Stein (W) def. Kelly Gajewski, 6-4, 0-6, 10-3; Amy Lance (L) def. Caroline Hairfield, 6-4, 6-2; Anne Stuart Pride (W) def. Erin Lavisley, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Doubles: Courtney Lopresti/Legare Passailaigue (W) def. Mary Weston Lawrence/Sarah Katherine Eckstrom, 6-3, 3-6, 11-9.


Singles: Tolley Rice (W) def. Liza Arruba, 6-1, 6-0; Sarah Elliott (W) def. Caroline Yodice, 6-3, 7-5; Hannah Simpson (BE) def. Lindsay Costin, 6-2, 6-2; Kelli McManus (BE) def. Caroline Chapman, 6-0, 6-2; Charlie Gaffney (BE) def. Natalie DeCenzo, 6-0, 6-4.

Doubles: Arruda/Emma Schaafsma (BE) def. Rice/Elliott, 1-6, 6-4, 10-7; Simpson/Hunter St. Laurent (BE) def. Casey Altman/Sarah Moran, 6-3, 6-3.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.