Sabrina Drammis confessed to nervousness Wednesday.
She had not played much tennis since last season, when she helped Hilton Head High to its fourth consecutive state tennis title. Drammis is a Seahawks basketball player and believes her future is on the hardwood.
And so opening the tennis season at No. 1 singles for the first time, and facing an unfamiliar opponent, Drammis wasn't sure what to expect. But she won a third-set tiebreaker over Beaufort High School's Chelsea Bellomy, and the Seahawks opened with a 5-1 victory on the road.
"I didn't really know what the level of play was going to be like," said Drammis, who won 7-5, 0-6, 11-9. "I knew I had to step my game up."
The Seahawks feature a new look as they prepare for a run at a fifth consecutive state title. Top singles player Lindsey Burke graduated, and Drammis and Brooke Busby were the only two players on the court Wednesday who had competed in the Class 3-A title match last season.
Busby played No. 2 singles, dropping only one game to Charlotte Bellomy. Drammis said the order could change as the season progresses. Busby played No. 2 during the state title match last season and Drammis No. 3.
The Seahawks are trying to play catch up after not securing a coach until recently. Jennifer Weitekamper is taking on her first coaching role since moving to the Lowcountry from Chicago 12 years ago.
"Now if we don't win a fifth one, it will be all my fault," Weitekamper said.
Beaufort High coach David Riedmayer is set on his rotation as the Eagles continue a brutal stretch of tennis to open the season. Riedmayer's squad already played Class 4-A runner-up Wando before facing the defending Class 3-A champs. The Eagles will have played seven matches by week's end.
Next week, they begin a run at a sixth consecutive region title. Beaufort High has lost one region match the past five seasons.
"We've had a tough schedule on purpose," said Riedmayer, whose team slipped to 1-2. "It's getting better and better every year. We just want to keep playing good players."
Riedmayer pointed to the competitiveness of his players' matches against top competition as proof the Eagles were close. Against Wando, Beaufort High played four third-set tiebreakers. On Wednesday, two matches went to tiebreakers and Beaufort High's Kelsey Butler put up a fight in losing to Megan Farrell at No. 4 singles.
Addie Everidge earned the Eagles' lone win with a victory at No. 5.
"My mental game has improved a lot and my serve," Everidge said. "I kind of went point by point and tried to stay positive and it paid off."
Hilton Head High 5, Beaufort High 1
Singles: No. 1 Sabrina Drammis (HHH) def. Chelsea Bellomy 7-5, 0-6 (11-9); No. 2 Brooke Busby (HHH) def. Charlotte Bellomy 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Logan Danzell (HHH) def. Shaye McAullife 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Megan Farrell (HHH) def. Kelsey Butler 7-5, 6-4; No. 5 Addie Everidge (B) def. Dana Leal 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles: Kate Cram/Shannon Short def. Zoe Brais/Austin Stoddard 6-3, 4-6 (10-7).