High School Tennis

Powerful Hilton Head Prep girls tennis team ready to start SCISAA playoffs

mmccombs@islandpacket.comOctober 16, 2013 

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Hilton Head Prep's Mariana Gould hits a return to Hilton Head Island High School's Jenn Oliver during a match earlier this season. Gould is the 2013 Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette Girls Tennis MVP.

SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver Buy Photo

It has been more than a week since the Hilton Head Prep girls tennis team wrapped up its perfect regular season.

Instead of waiting for their SCISAA Class 3-A playoff assignment, it's safe to say the Dolphins (11-0) have been lying in wait for their next victim.

Riding a 25-match unbeaten streak that includes last season's run to the state crown, the Dolphins open this year's SCISAA playoffs at 4 p.m. Wednesday when they host Pinewood Prep.

"We've played them twice, and the last time, we handled them pretty easily," Hilton Head Prep coach Job DeBoer said. "We're a lot deeper than they are."

The Dolphins are deeper despite the fact that, according to DeBoer, their No. 1 player, senior Mariana Gould -- a former home-schooled student who already has signed to play for the University of Georgia -- will miss the playoff opener because she's out of town.

"After (she gets back), we'll go guns blazing," DeBoer said.

DeBoer has good reason for confidence. On top of last year's title and the unbeaten streak, his team is flat loaded.

Hilton Head Prep's Nos. 2 through 4 players, who will each move up a spot in Gould's absence, play at a level similar to Gould, according to DeBoer.

"They would do pretty well as No. 1s anywhere else," DeBoer said.

And they'll be back next year for the Dolphins, as well.

No. 2 Sydnee Wheeler is a junior, No. 3 Ellie Czura is a sophomore and No. 4 Ellie Zimmermann is a junior.

And to boot, Prep's No. 5 player, freshman Catie Meighan, actually was Bluffton's No. 1 player last season.

DeBoer, always the coach, downplayed his team's advantage in the postseason.

"Well, I don't really know if the other teams have improved since last year," DeBoer said. "I have no idea how good they are."

But given the talent level of his team, DeBoer has no choice but to agree with the assessment of several opposing head coaches this season -- that the Dolphins could beat many college teams.

"Yeah, they're right," DeBoer said.

Related stories

Hilton Head Prep girls cruise past defending state tennis champ Hilton Head High, Sept. 4, 2013

http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/09/04/2664978/hilton-head-prep-girls-cruise.html

State tennis championship won by Hilton Head Prep girls, Oct. 21, 1012

http://www.islandpacket.com/2012/10/21/2251386/state-tennis-championship...

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