With No. 5 singles Jamie Petrella hitting a little drop shot over the net, Fort Mill head girls’ tennis coach Angela Struve let out a scream.
The shot won Petrella the set and the match while Fort Mill punched its ticket to its first-ever Upper State Championship match for the girls’ tennis program as the Jackets defeated Mauldin 4-2 in the third round of the 5A state playoffs.
Struve then struggled to keep the tears of joy from flowing. Previous to this, the program had never made it to the third round, much less the Upper State title match. Her team will now travel to Spartanburg to take on the Vikings in the Upper State match next week.
“We are tired and exhausted,” she said.
“We had nothing to lose. Getting past the first round was what we have done the past couple of years. We were used to that and if we made it to the second round that was as far as we had ever gone.”
In the second round, Fort Mill had its hands full against a strong Boiling Springs team which the Jackets defeted 4-3 just to get to the third round. Because of heavy rain earlier in the week, the Jackets had to play back-to-back days in the playoffs without much time to prepare in between matches.
Against Boiling Springs, winning for Fort Mill were No. 3 singles Wallace Cortazar due to the retiring of the match; No. 4 singles Amelia Hall 5-7, 6-1, 1-0 (10-7) and No. 5 singles Petrella 7-5, 6-4. In the deciding match, No. 2 doubles Courtney Templeton and Lucia Williams won 6-2, 6-1.
Beating Boiling Springs took a lot of pressure off Fort Mill, Struve said, which she said helped her team prepare mentally for Mauldin.
“There wasn’t as much pressure,” Struve said. “Everybody just went to play.”
Against Mauldin, winning for Fort Mill were No. 1 singles Elizabeth Fitzgerald 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 singles Cortazar 6-1, 7-5; No. 5 singles Petrella 6-1, 6-4 and No. 2 doubles Courtney Templeton and Lucia Williams 6-3, 6-3.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM