Bluffton 4, Camden 2
The Bluffton tennis teams, in the school's seven years of existence, have never won a playoff match -- boys or girls -- despite finishing as region runner-up every year.
Well, change that "have" to "had."
The Bluffton girls opened the Class 3-A postseason Thursday on the road against Region 6 champion Camden and returned to the Lowcountry with a 4-2 victory and the school's first berth in the second round of the tennis playoffs.
"I was blessed with being announced as the Region 7 coach of the year on the same day the girls made history," Bluffton coach Bob Brown said.
"The girls played real well," he added. "I'm thrilled."
Bluffton (10-5) pulled out the win with hard-fought victories at No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles. Justine Wilson took the final singles matchup by winning the third-set tiebreaker 10-5, while Katelin Casas and Bridgett Hill prevailed in the lone doubles match, winning 10-8 in the tiebreaker.
The Bobcats advance to face the winner of today's match between Hilton Head High and Darlington. The second-round match likely will be held Tuesday, according to Brown.
Bluffton 4, Camden 2
Singles -- No. 1 M.K. Tiller (C) def. Charlotte Loper 7-5, 6-1; No. 2 Taylor Soop (B) def. M.H. Gantt 6-2, 6-2; No. 3 M. Hudson (C) def. Ashley Bierschenk 7-6, 7-5; No. 4 Samantha Brophy (B) def. B. Arial 6-3, 6-4; No. 5 Justine Wilson (B) def. M. Wehunt 6-3, 5-7, 10-5
Doubles -- No. 2 Katelin Casas/Bridgett Hill (B) def. H. Gause/H. Koutralakis 6-0, 3-6, 10-8
North Myrtle Beach 3, Bluffton 1: Bluffton saw its season come to an end in the second round of the Class 3-A state playoffs, losing to North Myrtle Beach 25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 21-25.
The Bobcats finish with a record of 34-19, one season after reaching the state title match.
"Our passing was not good tonight and that was the difference," Bluffton coach Al Stern said. "If you don't pass the ball well, it's hard to run your offense. And (North Myrtle Beach) was a good team. They had some good players."
Freshman Mackenzie Cooler led the team in kills with 12. She also provided 16 assists.
Kellie Cooper had seven kills and was 13 of 13 serving. Lisa Glover had seven kills, Jordan Franklin had 13 assists, Abby Roulston finished with four blocks and Morgan Delaplane contributed 11 digs.
The Bobcats will lose three starters to graduation -- Cooper, Glover and Jamie Toomer.
"They will be missed, but we have a lot of young players," Stern said. "Tonight, we started two freshman and two sophomores. We've got some good, young players coming up."