High School Tennis

State tennis championship won by Hilton Head Prep girls

Dolphins avenge last season's loss to Porter-Gaud in finals

info@islandpacket.comOctober 21, 2012 

The Dolphins were not in the mood to play doubles this weekend.

As they did in the first round and semifinals, the Hilton Head Prep girls tennis team decided its match Saturday on singles alone as the Dolphins downed Porter-Gaud, 5-1, to win the SCISAA Class 3-A championship at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter.

"Each player went out with a clear idea of what to do, and executed beautifully," Hilton Head Prep coach Job de Boer said. "They meant business."

Porter-Gaud (11-2-1) was playing in its fourth straight state final, including last season's 5-2 win over Hilton Head Prep. The teams had played twice already this season, with Prep winning once and they tied the other.

Playing without usual No. 2 singles player Kelly Dodd, who is sidelined by injury, the Dolphins jumped out to a 3-0 lead Saturday on wins by Ellie Czura, Taylor Childress and Katie Rankin at Nos. 4-6 singles.

Heavily taped Allie Burak, playing through a ligament issue in her ankle, made it 4-0 with a win at No. 1 singles over Porter-Gaud's Annie Hay.

Shannon O'Brien dropped her first match of the season in a nail-biter at No. 3 singles, falling to Cyclones eighth-grader Ann Martin Skelly.

No. 2 Kelly Mengel then brought the title back to Hilton Head Island.

Mengel, a Smith Stearns Tennis Academy player who joined the Dolphins this fall after moving from Pittsburgh, sat out much of the season while recovering from wrist surgery. She clinched the championship for the Dolphins with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Porter-Gaud sophomore Grace Robards.

"We were better prepared for the final this year," said Czura, referring to the Dolphins' loss to the Cyclones in last year's finals. "Last year's experience helped us today."

It would not be a shock if these two schools played for the state title once again next season. Only Hay will be graduating from the Cyclones' lineup, and Hilton Head Prep did not use a single senior on Saturday.

"We have a great team," O'Brien said, "and we are looking forward to even better years ahead."

SCISAA Class 3-A Girls Tennis Championship

Saturday, at the Palmetto Tennis Center, Sumter

Hilton Head Prep 5, Porter-Gaud 1

Singles: 1. Allie Burak (HHP) d. Annie Hay 6-2, 6-2; 2. Kelly Mengel (HHP) d. Grace Robards 6-2, 7-5; 3. Ann-Martin Skelly (PG) d. Shannon O'Brien 6-4, 7-6(5); 4. Ellie Czura (HHP) d. Lexi Steichen 6-1, 6-2; 5. Taylor Childress (HHP) d. Carlyle Williams 6-0, 6-1; 6. Katie Rankin (HHP) d. Madison McNeil 6-2, 6-1.

The Post and Courier (Charleston) contributed to this report.

Hilton Head Prep's Kelly Mengel, shown in the Dolphins' playoff win over Cardinal Newman earlier this week, capped off the SCISAA Class 3-A state title for Prep on Saturday in Sumter.

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