Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Berkeley Lady Stags tennis team had an incredible run through the 2013 fall season, advancing to the Lower State finals with a thrilling 4-3 win over Wilson on Nov. 4 before falling to an overpowering Myrtle Beach 5-1 on Nov. 6.
The experienced Seahawks proved to be too much for the Lady Stags in the match.
“It was a great season,” said BHS Coach Joe Harnage. “We played well against them. Kristen (Farmer) won her match, which gave her a 19-2 record this year, but we lost the other four singles matches in straight sets.”
Farmer dispatched with Myrtle Beach standout Rachel Berkey with relative ease, 6-1, 6-2, and that would be all the Lady Stags could muster against the Seahawks.
“We were competitive but, in the end, we came up a little short,” Harnage said. “Myrtle Beach was just a little bit better. They have tremendous depth and have a top-notch tennis program.”
The Lady Stags took to the road for the playoffs with three road trips in seven days and coupled with MBHS’s experience and strength, BHS came into town a little weary according to Harnage, but he credited the season’s success to his senior leadership.
“We had four seniors who played their last match together,” he said of Farmer, Jill Funk, Caroline Lamprecht and Lauren Jackson. “All four have been on the team since the seventh grade.”
To reach the Lower State finals the Lady Stags battled tooth and nail to edge Wilson 4-3, the win coming in the final match, with the number one doubles’ team of Farmer and Huxford clinching the match with a decisive win.
“We played a good team with a strong lineup and everyone had to work hard and stay focused to pull out their matches to make it to where we could play doubles,” Kristen Farmer said.
Farmer knew if the match came down to she and Huxford in doubles, they’d be in good shape.
“Elliott and I knew that we had to stay calm and just play clean and aggressive to win,” she said. “We came out and did those things, and brought home the win to advance to lower state.”
Huxford added that the Lady Stags’ win was a total team effort, top to bottom.
“Wilson High School was an evenly matched opponent for our team, so we knew we were going in for a fight. In my singles match, I went up against an opponent that was a great player with a variety of shots, so I knew I had to fight through her strengths.”
Huxford dropped the first set 6-3 saying she was defeated handily by well-placed drop shots and forehand winners. In the second set, she adjusted.
“I changed up my style of playing to neutralize the strengths that helped her win the first set,” she said.
The 10-point third set tiebreaker though, was a nail-biter. Down 8-6, Huxford rallied to win the final four straight points and win the match.
Huxford mirrored her teammate’s confidence going into the deciding doubles match.
“We have been playing well together all season so we did not expect anything different. Kristen and I remained focused throughout the doubles match and were able to bring home the victory to determine the outcome of the match.”
Farmer, who plans to play tennis for Charleston Southern in 2014, said she was proud of her team’s effort.
“I am proud of all my girls for working so hard during the week and even on the weekends to prepare for these matches,” she said of her team’s run through the playoffs. “Their hard work really showed in their matches.”
Huxford will return to head a strong Lady Stags’ tennis program that saw 32 players compete this season.
“Our line-up will change quite a bit next year,” Harnage said. “From the comments that I have received over the past two weeks, our play-off run has really energized the entire community.”
The girls’ tennis team’s run joins the Stags cross-country team, the girls golf team, the swim team and the Stags’ football team to enjoy playoff success in the fall 2013 season.
Earlier this spring the Stags baseball team and Lady Stags softball team each won region championships, along with girls track crowning a state champ in the 4x100 relay.