Wildcats open title quest


West Ashley has gone from the bottom of Region 7-AAAA boys tennis to nearly the top. The Wildcats (13-2) have climbed to a No. 2 seeding as the state playoffs are set to open on Tuesday.

Coach Ronnie Dupre's West Ashley team, which suffered both of its losses to 7-AAAA champion Wando, will open the playoffs at home against dangerous Bluffton of Region 8-AAAA.

Meanwhile, Wando is a top seed and will play host to No. 4 seed Ashley Ridge in the first round. The Warriors have become a serious challenger in the Lower State playoffs with outstanding young newcomer Jacob Jahn joining forces with junior Andrew DaCosta to give Wando a strong 1-2 punch.

West Ashley is led by Ted and Stratas Anastopoulo, the sons of College of Charleston women's coach Angelo Anastopoulo. Ted is a junior and plays No. 1 singles and doubles, while little brother Stratas holds down the third spot in singles as an eighth-grader.

"Ted is a grinder. He competes as well as anyone I've ever been around," Dupre said.

Former No. 1 Lee Ropp is back for his senior season after being away from West Ashley the last three seasons. He plays No. 2 for the Wildcats.

Bluffton is a No. 3 seed. "It's a tough first-round match. They are solid 1-through-7," Dupre said.

The West Ashley-Bluffton winner is projected to play at defending state champion South Aiken on Thursday.

Region 8-AAAA runner-up Summerville, led by former two-time All-Lowcountry ace Adam Elliget, has a home match Tuesday against No. 3 seed Lugoff-Elgin, while 7-AAAA third seed Stratford travels to 8-AAAA champion Beaufort.

The Class AA playoffs are scheduled to start on Thursday with archrivals Bishop England and Waccamaw expected to be the top two seeds in the Lower State.