The Hillcrest High girls tennis team reached a milestone last season.
The Rams finished with an overall record of 8-9, posted a Region 1-AAAA mark of 7-7 and reached the postseason.
“That was our first time to make it to the playoffs,” second-year Hillcrest coach Yancey Epps said. “We lost to Mauldin, the state champion, in the first round. We were honored just to be in the playoffs.”
Hillcrest lost only three girls from that team and only one of the top five seeds, Epps said.
The Rams will have a young team again this year, with only two seniors: Logan Moody, who’s in her first year playing tennis, and Hannah Owens, a second-year player.
Rounding out the roster are juniors Cleopatra Shabazz and Katie Tuten; sophomores Kelli Jarrell, Loren Maybach, Lauren Mickle and Olivia Mitros; freshmen Madison Carver, Lauren Kelly, Courtney Tucker and Malena Lewis; and eighth-graders Christen Crawford and Emma Epps.
“We have a very young team,” Yancey Epps said. “My daughter, Emma, will be playing No. 1 seed. We are looking for some good tennis in our region. T.L. Hanna and J.L. Mann will be the top. Easley is our big target this year. Easley was third in the region last year, so our goal is to move up one and be third.”
Epps said the seeding in tennis is done differently from other sports.
“There are challenge matches, where they play heads-up matches against the other for me to determine who the seeds are. It is who won the most matches against their own team,” Epps said. “It is not like other sports where the coach makes a decision.”