Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Waccamaw High School boys’ tennis team fell victim last week to a determined effort by Bishop England to defeat the Warriors for the first time in 14 years.
Despite strong individual efforts by the Warriors, the archrival Battling Bishops won 4-2.
“The team as a whole is more focused this year because we concentrated on tournament play, which made us mentally tougher – and to beat Waccamaw that is what you have to be,” said Lukas Zalesky, Bishop England’s No. 1 player. Zalesky defeated Waccamaw’s Justin Dunn 6-2, 6-4.
The Warriors needed to win three of the five individual matches, or two individual matches and the doubles match, to force a tie-breaking doubles match in the play held at the Creekside Tennis and Swim Club in Mount Pleasant. They came close.
Waccamaw’s No. 3 player, Ben Hewes, defeated Daniel Knott 7-5, 6-2.
Hewes stayed focused and hit consistently strong against Knott, a new player for Bishop England who moved to the United States from the Virgin Islands in January.
“He was a really good player and he fought hard,” said Hewes, a sophomore. “I was able to stay focused and fight throughout the entire match.”
Jaz Greene, playing in the No. 5 spot for Waccamaw, defeated Brian Privett 6-4 and 6-1.
Greene, selecting his ground strokes carefully, kept his opponent on the move in a quick-paced match.
Waccamaw senior Kevin Mushock, who played doubles with freshman Stephen Russell, is eager for the rematch.
“We have a whole month to prepare. We won’t let this happen again.”
Bishop England’s team includes three of its top five players from last year, when they were defeated by Waccamaw.
“We have been waiting 14 years to beat Waccamaw,” said Bishop England coach Kristin Fleming, in her second year of coaching the boys. “We have a team with more depth this year, and we are happy that we accomplished what we have worked really hard for.”
After match the the Warriors agreed that this match was a wake-up call, and they need to return to the level of play of two years ago when they were state champions.
“Waccamaw tennis is resurging as the season progresses,” said first-year head coach Lynn Hunt. “We lost a close match to perennial power Bishop England without three of our usual starters. Coupled with the fact that several of our younger players are just coming into their own on the courts, our future looks very bright. We are looking forward to the rest of the season and expect to do well in the playoffs.”
The Warriors will be playing in regional matches before they meet Bishop England again on April 30. The Warriors play at Mullins tonight, and at home on host Aynor for a double-header on Thursday. The Warriors play at Stables Tennis Center in Litchfield. All home matches begin at 4:30.