Five Midlands teams have advanced to the Final Four of the state boys tennis playoffs in two classifications. Semifinal and championship matches will run today and Saturday at the Palmetto Park & Tennis Center in Sumter.
In Class 4A, top-ranked Spring Valley (17-2) squares off against Doman in the Class 4A Upper State championship match today at 6 p.m. In the Lower State bout at 4 p.m., Lexington (20-1) takes on Region 5 rival Irmo (16-3) in a rematch of last season’s semifinal that saw the Yellow Jackets upset the Wildcats and move on the state championship match for the first time in eight years.
In Class 3A, undefeated Chapin (19-0) faces Clinton at 6 p.m. in the Upper State finale, while Camden (17-2) plays South Aiken in the Lower State final at 4 p.m.
Championship matches in three classifications are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday
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SPRING VALLEY - The Vikings, under first-year coach Derrick Hines, have only lost once on the court this season – a 4-2 decision to Chapin. The other setback was a forfeit to Ridge View … SV has three state championships on the books, but none since the sport adopted a dual match playoff format in 1985. The Vikings claimed two outright titles (1973 and 1982) and shared the top prize once (1974) when the title was determined in a traditional tournament setting. The Vikings are 0-5 in state championship matches since the change, and last qualified for the state title bout in 2001 when they lost to Irmo. Last season. Spring Valley fell to eventual champion Greenwood in the Upper State final … The Vikings have breezed to the semifinals with easy wins over Clover (6-0), Mauldin (5-1) and Nation Ford (6-0) … The Spring Valley starting lineup features freshman Brent Lett (12-1) at No. 1 singles, eight-grader Connor Burke (15-2) at No. 2 singles, eighth-grader Hampton Drake (8-2) at No. 3 singles, freshman Charlie Drake (5-3) at No. 4 singles, junior Kenan Sakarcan (10-5) at No. 5 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of freshman Nick Nishnic and seventh-grader Blake McGuirt at No. 2 doubles. Nichnic and McGuirt are 7-0 as a team. Nishnic is 16-2 overall in doubles play this season, while McGuirt is 16-0. Lett and Connor Burke will team up if a No. 1 doubles team is required.
LEXINGTON - The Wildcats were denied a title shot for the first time since 2000 a year ago by Irmo, so there is plenty of motivation for the third meeting of the season for the archrivals …. Lexington’s playoff lineup has changed with junior Parker Adkins moving from No. 2 singles to doubles. The move has quite successful. The Wildcats, in fact, have not lost a point in three postseason outings to date. Senior Gordon Lucas is 15-2 overall at No. 1 singles. Senior Ross Sons (15-2 overall) is 3-0 in the playoffs at No. 2 singles. Senior William Lightle (17-1) is 3-0 at No. 3 singles. Seventh-grader Logan Adkins (10-2) is 3-0 at No. 4 singles. Freshman Trey Swearingen has moved up from doubles to No. 5 singles and is 3-0 in the playoffs. The No. 2 doubles team now features Adkins and junior Brian Lim. The duo is 3-0 in the playoffs … Lexington has four state championships on the books, winning four of five between 2002 and 2006, including a three-year reign (2004-06).
IRMO - The Yellow Jackets ambushed Lexington in the Lower State finals a year ago to reach the state title match for the first time since winning it all in 2001 under coach Bill Porter. Irmo never made it past the third round again until last season’s upset of the neighboring Wildcats … The Jackets, who have lost only to Lexington (twice) and Camden, blanked West Ashley and Wando is the first two rounds, and advanced to the semifinals with a 4-2 win over Dutch Fork on Tuesday … Irmo’s starting lineup features Paul Reed (14-8) at No. 1 singles, Jasdeep Guram (9-3) at No. 2 singles. Reid Baird (15-5) at No. 3 singles, Clint Butler (15-2) at No. 4 singles, Zack Wooten (16-1) at No. 5 singles and the double team of John Rast and Wesley Turbevillle. Rast is 14-0 in doubles play to date, Turbevillle is 13-1.
CHAPIN - The Eagles hope the long, fruitless quest will end in 2010. Chapin has never won a state tennis championship, and never qualified for the finals, for that matter. John Rodgers has built a solid program for more than two decades, but his teams could never quite find a way to get past established powerhouses like Myrtle Beach (3A) and Christ Church (2A) … Chapin opened the playoff last week with a 5-1 win over Greenville and ended a two-year second-round slum with a 4-2 success against Travelers Rest on Tuesday … The Eagles starring lineup features 1.Kyle Koch (17-0) at No. 1 singles, Alex Wallace (17-2) at No. 2 singles, Sean Koch (16-3) at No. 3 singles, Robert Hinson (17-2 at No. 4 singles, Jeffrey Koch (19-0) at No. 5 singles and the 14-1 No. 2 doubles team of Chris Gardiner and Sean McCawley. The duo clinched the second-round win vs. TR with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph. Kyle and Sean Koch are 6-0 at No. 1 singles.
CAMDEN - The Bulldogs, under long-time coach Roger Smoak, have made it to the Final Four for the fourth time in the past five seasons. The idea this time is to earn a state title shot for the first time since claiming 3A honors in 1992 – the only championship in program history … Camden breezed by Bluffton (6-0) in the first round and went 4-1 in singles on the way to a 4-2 second-round win over Hilton Head on Tuesday. The Bulldogs take on a South Aiken team that ended the reign of Myrtle Beach, which had claimed eight state titles and 11 Lower State championships in a 12-year span between 1998 and 2009 … The Bulldogs starting lineup features Josh Cook (No. 1 singles), Cauthen Tiller (No. 2 singles) Jo Jo Tiller (No. 3 singles) Roderick Todd (No. 4 singles) Andrew Koutrolakis (No. 5 singles) and the No. 2 doubles team of Micah Thomas and Davis Goodrich.