Try as Beaufort High School's tennis team did not to look ahead, there was little hope once the Eagles started Thursday's second-round Class 4-A playoff match.
During the Eagles' second consecutive 6-0 victory to open the postseason, this time over visiting Sumter, Beaufort High coach David Riedmayer received a text message from Lexington's coach asking what time Riedmayer wanted to play Tuesday. And Beaufort High players caught themselves asking before Thursday's match about the logistics of Tuesday's match.
"I'm sure it might have been on their minds," Riedmayer said. "We tried to focus on this match only."
It's not that the Eagles didn't respect the Gamecocks. But, after Riedmayer's team was knocked out in the Lower State semifinal the past two years, his players' focus has been on getting another shot. And Thursday's opponent did little to sway the Eagles' mindset.
Sumter's No. 1 singles player, Staci Medley, eventually did enough to force Marian Hohenwarter into action. Hohenwarter, Beaufort High's No. 1, coasted while taking the first four games and started with a 6-1 win in the opening set. But Medley came back to take the second set, forcing Hohenwarter to scramble for a 10-5 win in the tiebreaker.
Hohenwarter said Medley, whom she had never played, seemed to take a while to warm up before she began hitting balls deep. The Beaufort High senior said she failed to mix up her shots enough early, until she was forced to adapt in the tiebreaker.
"Nothing was really working for her," Hohenwarter said. "But then once she started working the point, getting into her groove and hitting her shots, then it became a much closer match."
Riedmayer and the Eagles expected the tougher test Thursday -- especially among the Gamecocks' top three singles -- than what they faced Tuesday against North Augusta. Knowing that, the Eagles still had eyes for Lexington, one of the top programs in the state. Each team's top players are aware of the other from traveling to various tennis tournaments.
Hohenwarter knows her next opponent by name. She also knows her next opponent enjoys a slightly better ranking in the state. But Hohenwarter said she feels the Eagles are also strong at the top.
At this point, the match will probably be decided by the team with the better depth, Riedmayer said.
"Hopefully our depth will pull through," he said.
The Eagles will have the added distraction of the match falling during their fall break. Riedmayer said he would counter by maintaining the same practice schedule.
"We have to stay mentally tough," he said. "We just try to keep their routine exactly the same."
Beaufort High 6, Sumter 0
Singles: No. 1 -- Marian Hohenwarter (B) def. Staci Medley 6-1, 4-6, 10-5; No. 2 -- Chelsea Bellomy (B) def. Suzanna Mickey 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 -- Charlotte Bellomy (B) def. Kaitlin Knight 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 -- Morgan McNeal (B) def. Julia Sorrells 6-2, 6-1; No. 5 -- Shaye McAulliffe (B) def. Ashleigh Gentele 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: Butler/Everidge (B) def. Waldlarch/Lovice 6-0, 6-2