There was no doubt Monday afternoon that the Seahawks were going to the 3-A girls tennis state championship match.
Unfortunately for Hilton Head Island High School, it was the wrong Seahawks.
The Myrtle Beach Seahawks (20-1) knocked off the Hilton Head Island Seahawks, 4-2, on Monday in the closely contested Class 3-A Lower State Championship.
“It’s unfortunate, but it happens,” Hilton Head senior Kate Cram said. “I’m still proud of us. We played well. We played better than we did last year. It was all so close. They’re just very good, as are we. But they came out on top today.”
Cram’s career with the Seahawks came to a close with a 6-0, 6-4 win, teamed with Maggie Flowers at No. 2 doubles, over Myrtle Beach’s Catherine Truluck and Katherine Woodward.
The teams are familiar with one another, often facing off in the Lower State playoffs. Last season, Myrtle Beach eliminated Hilton Head, ending its six-year run as 3-A champions. Myrtle Beach owns 14 state championships, while Hilton Head Island (20-3) holds 11.
Hilton Head coach Jennifer Weitekamper succinctly boiled down the difference between the teams in this year’s matchup.
“It was back-and-forth,” Weitekamper said. But it’s consistency, who can close out that match point. ... They just got more points.”
This year, all of the matches were tight ones. Perhaps the best match was the No. 2 singles match between Hilton Head’s Sayda Hernandez and Myrtle Beach’s Rachel Berkey.
The match featured long rally after long rally before Hernandez took a 6-4, 7-3 victory.
“Solid. Strong,” Weitekamper said. “They’ve played each other before. They’ll play each other again. Both are hard hitters, so consistent.”
If the No. 2 singles match was the best, the match at No. 4 got the most attention, just by virtue of finishing last.
The teams started play even before the early 3:30 p.m. start time, but as the last match crawled toward a conclusion, the sun disappeared, leaving Myrtle Beach’s Bailey Deskins and Hilton Head’s Sarah Wood in the dark.
“We could say we couldn’t see the ball, but they could say they couldn’t see the ball,” Weitekamper said.
Deskins held off Wood 7-6, 5-7 (10-4). Had Wood prevailed, the No. 1 doubles match would have been necessary. Weitekamper said the teams would have moved the final match to Chaplin Park, which has lights, unlike Hilton Head Island High's courts.
“You can blame me for not having moved it there in the first place,” Weitekamper said, “but that’s not our home court.”
Myrtle Beach 4, Hilton Head Island 2
Singles: 1. Elizabeth Truluck (MB) def. Molly Sanderson 6-0, 6-4; 2. Sayda Hernandez (HHH) def. Rachel Berkey 6-4, 7-3; 3. Emma Springs (MB) def. Jennifer Oliver 6-2, 6-3; 4. Bailey Deskins (MB) def. Sarah Wood 7-6, 5-7 (10-4); 5. Paxton Gentry (MB) def. Holly Kerr 3-6, 6-2 (12-10).
Doubles: 2. Kate Cram/Maggie Flowers (HHH) def. Catherine Truluck/Katherine Woodward 6-0, 6-4.