High School Tennis

Bluffton girls start tennis playoffs with easy win despite illnesses

mmccombs@islandpacket.comOctober 30, 2013 

It would have been easy for Bobcats coach Robert Brown to have been worried entering Bluffton High School's Class 4-A girls tennis playoff opener on Tuesday.

Brown's team entered the match without its No. 1 player, Taylor Soop, who missed the match because of illness, and with another player, usual No. 3 player Cooper Baxter, fighting an illness as well.

But there was no reason for Brown to fret, as Bluffton swept West Ashley, 6-0, on the way to a second-round date with Lexington, a 6-0 winner over Carolina Forest.

Bluffton made easy work of the Wildcats. Only West Ashley's No. 1, Alese Brown, won more than two games in any set. She fell to Bluffton's Justine Wilson, 6-2, 6-3, in the day's closest match.

The Bobcats will host Lexington at 4 p.m. Thursday. Brown said he's seen those Wildcats play several times.

"They looked good," Brown said. "They're real sharp."

Even if Soop is back Thursday, Lexington will be a tough draw for Bluffton (13-4), which essentially lost its top two players coming into this season.

But Brown said he told his team -- the first girls region champion team in Bluffton history -- not to worry.

"We're in rarefied air," Brown said. "We were not expected to be here. Whatever happens at this point, it's all good."

Bluffton 6, West Ashley 0

Singles: No. 1 Justine Wilson def. Alese Brown 6-2, 6-3; No. 2 Cooper Baxter def. Teresa Linker 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Anna Rathke def. Brittney Heffner 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Angie Castrillon def. Clarin Baron 6-2, 6-0; No. 5 Moriella Williams def. Jasmyne Tailor 6-0, 6-0.

Doubles: No. 2 Lauren Bierschenk/Karyn Wilson def. Shelby Mitchum/Clanice Baron 6-1, 6-0.

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