Fort Mill Times

Lucky 13: Fort Mill sets sights on playoffs

Fort Mill's Robbie Davis gets ready to return a shot during the Jackets' region-clinching win over Clover.
Fort Mill's Robbie Davis gets ready to return a shot during the Jackets' region-clinching win over Clover.

The Fort Mill High School boys tennis team capped a perfect regular season in Region III- 4A April 28 with a 5-1 win at Clover, going 10-0 on its way to the region title and pushing their overall record to 13-1.

Defeating Clover, the region's runner-up, was the final hurdle standing between the Yellow Jackets and the moment they have been looking forward to all season - gearing up for what they hope will be a long playoff run.

"We're trying to make it to May 16," Head Coach Willie Ware said, referring to the date of the state title match.

"These guys have improved a heck of a lot all season. Our first goal was to win the region. Now the only goal is to progress into the playoffs."

Due to the leadership of seniors Robbie Davis, the team's number one player and team captain, and Kyle Orsburn, who picked up a big win against Clover, Ware thinks this could be a year that the Jackets have a serious impact in the playoffs.

"They have both provided the leadership needed to carry this team. We've been able to count on them," Ware said. "The top man is usually the man under fire. Most teams have a strong top man even if they don't have any depth."

Under fire or not, leading the Jackets is a challenge Davis said he is looking forward to taking on in the coming weeks.

"I want to win my last match," Davis said. "We have high hopes; We want to make it at least as far as the state championship. There is a large group of seniors here and it would be great to win in our last year -- to go out with a bang."

Tyler Davis, Daniel Proctor and Kyle Patterson have filled the three, four and five spots for the Jackets.

Fort Mill's top doubles team, Jon Ernst and Chase Riddle, stepped up this season as well in their first year playing together. The duo has dropped only two out of their 13 matches all season.

"We have fun when we play," Ernst said. "And even if we get down in a match, we can trust each other to make shots."

Riddle said he thinks they can take that attitude and translate it into late season wins.

"I think we have a shot at the doubles title," he said. "We just have to step up and be ready for what's ahead."

"We've got the skill in order to be successful," Ware said. "We just have to be physically and mentally ready."