Job de Boer has seen his share of talent take the court during his tenure with the Hilton Head Prep girls tennis team. But the coach, who guided the Dolphins to a SCISAA state championship a year ago, has never seen a team with a skill level quite like this one.
"In the four years I've been at Prep, this is the best team I've had," he said.
The Dolphins looked the part Tuesday, cruising past six-time defending Class 3-A state champion Hilton Head Island High 6-0. Four of five Prep singles players swept their matches without dropping a game, showcasing the depth de Boer has at his disposal in 2013.
"I know that we're very deep," he said. "Our lineup is probably the one of a small college team."
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Freshman Catie Meighan, who last year was the No. 1 singles player for Bluffton High, slid down to the No. 5 spot this season for Prep. She defeated Nicole Diaz, 6-0, 6-0, to continue her early work with the Dolphins (2-0), who defeated Beaufort Academy 8-0 last week.
"Everybody has their hopes high to win it (all) this year," she said. "So that makes you more confident in winning. Our team is always really excited and really confident during school."
Hilton Head High (0-1) will look for its first win of the season Thursday at rival Bluffton. The Seahawks hope to have a better feel for their team by then, as coach Jennifer Weitekamper continues to tool with a lineup missing a handful of players from last year's title-winning team.
Brooke Busby is gone at No. 1 singles and in her place is sophomore Jenn Oliver, who moved up from No. 2. Junior Kate Cram, the only upperclassman on the Seahawks roster, moved into Oliver's former spot.
"The girls were playing out points, but they weren't really closing games," Weitekamper said. "It was a faster pace than I think we're used to. It's a great start to the season in order to get a feel for, 'Wow, look where we've got to get to.' "
Both teams have aspirations of another state title in 2013. The Dolphins beat perennial power Porter-Gaud 5-1 in last year's SCISAA Class 3-A final and appear to be the team to beat again this year.
"It's not out of the realm," de Boer said. "I almost expect it. But I don't know what (Porter-Gaud) has. Maybe they have new players."
Hilton Head High, meanwhile, is gunning for an unprecedented seventh straight championship. Weitekamper and Co. are in wait-and-see mode on this year's team but still have plans to be in Columbia later this fall.
"I've got a really young team," she said. "I don't want to say we're rebuilding as much as restructuring and looking down the road. ... This is a good feel for when we get to the playoffs at the end of the season."
Hilton Head Prep 6, Hilton Head High 0
Singles -- No. 1 Mariana Gould (HHP) def. Jenn Oliver 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Sydnee Wheeler (HHP) def. Kate Cram 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 Ellie Czura (HHP) def. Sarah Wood 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Ellie Zimmermann (HHP) def. Holly Kerr 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 Catie Meighan (HHP) def. Nicole Diaz 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles -- No. 2 Taylor Childress/Katie Rankin (HHP) def. Maggie Flowers/Henry Clare Cram 6-1, 6-1.