At Dutch Fork on Wednesday, the Silver Foxes earned a return trip to the Class 4A championship match with a 4-2 defeat of Lexington in the Lower State final.
The Silver Foxes, who beat Lexington twice in the regular season, remain undefeated heading into Saturday’s match with T.L. Hanna at Cayce’s Otarre Point.
“I knew it would be harder, but, luckily, we were on our own court so that made it a little easier,” Silver Foxes coach Gina Hilts said.
“Momentum is very important to us, and I feel like our girls stepped it up in the playoffs season,” she said. “They wanted it all season long, and they came out here and worked hard.”
The Wildcats had their best showing against their Silver Foxes of the season, led by Katie Thompson’s win at No. 1 singles.
“Tonight was really special, and I just wanted to put everything I had out there on the court,” said Thompson, who defeated Lauren Joch 6-3, 6-4.
Joch had started strong, aggressively playing the backcourt and the lines. She won the first game as Thompson worked to settle into a rhythm.
At first, Thompson could not get a handle on Joch, but when she sat back and waited for Dutch Fork’s freshman star to overplay her shots, Thompson picked up steam.
She won four out of five games to go up 4-3 then took the set as Joch had trouble establishing consistent momentum.
By the time Thompson walked off the court, Dutch Fork had a 3-1 lead with two courts left in play.
“I honestly think her pulling that court gave some inspiration to the other courts, because they found another gear,” said Jackson. “I’m pleased with the effort and the heart from my team today. As a coach, that’s what I care about, it’s heart.”
At No. 2 singles, Dutch Fork’s Sam Calais played fast and ferocious. But down one set after a 7-6 loss with a 7-3 tie breaker, Amy Lance battled back for Lexington. Calais and Lance fought to a 6-6 second set tie. Calais, a freshman, took the second tie-breaker 9-7 to settle the match.
After dropping the second set, Lexington’s No. 2 doubles team of Mary Weston Lawrence and Sarah Katherine Ekstrom notched a win over Sarah Reim and Anna Maria Gardiner with a spirited tiebreaker that set the final score.