The setting seemed to be primed for a letdown for the Hilton Head High girls tennis team.
The players are out of school all week. The early afternoon match fell on a day filled with wind, often referred to as the equalizer in tennis. And the Seahawks already had defeated their opponent -- Bluffton High School -- with relative ease twice this year.
But letdowns are nonexistent this time of year. Well, at least for the Seahawks.
The three-time defending Class 3-A state champions moved into the Lower State finals match with a 6-0 sweep of the Bobcats in a second-round playoff match on Tuesday afternoon. The Seahawks will host A.C. Flora at 4 p.m. Thursday, with the winner qualifying for Saturday's Class 3-A state championship match.
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"It's hard not to look ahead because we really want to win state again -- it's what we talk about all year," said Sabrina Drammis, the No. 3 singles player. "But this is it. We can't afford to let our minds wander because if you lose, you're done."
Their minds were in the right place Tuesday, and the Seahawks answered with their most convincing win yet against Bluffton in three tries this season.
Lindsey Burke, Brooke Busby, Drammis, Sydnee Wheeler and Megan Farrell each cruised to singles victories. None lost more than two games in two sets.
Holli Selman and Haley Thompson paired for a doubles win to round out the sweep.
The win was especially impressive for Busby, who had to grind out a win in both of Hilton Head High's last two meetings with Bluffton. She dropped only one game in her two-set win.
"I played a lot better today," Busby said. "I think we are all more focused because these matches are important to us. We know our goal is state."
Hilton Head High's win officially ended the Bobcats' season, but Bluffton walked away with a positive outlook.
In their seventh consecutive year of postseason play, the Bobcats earned their first playoff victory in school history Thursday, edging Camden 4-2. They also finished the year 10-6, giving them a third consecutive winning season.
"Nobody can take that away from us -- a great season was capped with that win," Bobcats coach Bob Brown said. "On the seniors' backs, this program took a step forward. And they fought with everything they had today, but although we took a step, we're still two steps behind."
Hilton Head High 6, Bluffton 0
Singles: No. 1 Lindsey Burke (HHH) def. Charlotte Loper 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Brooke Busby (HHH) def. Taylor Soop 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Sabrina Drammis (HHH) def. Ashley Bierschenk 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Sydnee Wheeler (HHH) def. Katelin Casas 6-0, 6-1; No. 5 Megan Farrell (HHH) def. Justine Wilson 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles: No. 2 Holli Selman/Haley Thompson (HHH) def. Liz Lunde/Samatha Brophy 6-3, 6-2.