The Travelers Rest girls tennis team won its first state championship Saturday with a 4-3 victory against Myrtle Beach at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.
“To be under that type of pressure, my doubles players really showed some poise,” Devildogs coach Kirby Alford said. “They really came up big for us.”
Travelers Rest (20-2) trailed 3-2 entering doubles play, and Alford was faced with a huge dilemma.
“We had to make a judgment call to play our doubles players straight up or to split them,” Alford said. “We decided to split them up. This was the first time that we split them up.”
Makenna Jones was paired with Emma Reaney at No. 1 doubles, and they won 6-0, 6-4. At No. 2 doubles, Alford paired Sarah McBride with Meade Inglis and they responded with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
“We pretty much knew we had the best No. 1 doubles team in the state,” Alford said. “They both won their first sets, which took a little bit of the pressure off.
“They split their doubles players, too. They just made two very good combinations. I was nervous to switch up the duos, but I thought it’d give us our best chance to win.”
The Devildogs collected their first region championship last year and their first Upper State title this season.
“We fell a little short in the playoffs last season,” Alford said. “That gave them the experience that they needed this year. It was a very special team.”
Jones dominated at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0, and McBride rolled 6-0, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. No. 3 Abby Loftis, No. 4 Zayn DeAndrade,, and No. 5 Lauren Blakemore suffered close losses, Alford said.