Yesterday the Nation Ford Boys Tennis Team beat a strong Wade Hampton High School (Greenville) team to win the AAA Upper State Championship. In South Carolina, a match-up between teams involves 5 singles matches and what’s called a #2 doubles match- all played simultaneously. If each team wins 3 matches, the top 2 players from each team play an 8-game pro-set doubles match to break the tie.
Wade Hampton was the home team and they definitely had a home court advantage with a large number of people to cheer them on.
Early on all of the matches were close. Madison Ott playing at #1 was the first to finish, giving Nation Ford their first match of 4 needed. Next David Habbick playing #5 singles won his match. Shortly after Nation Ford’s #2 Danny Randar and #3 Stephen Zoeller lost close matches. At this point, my son Chase had won his first set and was about to lose his second set. When sets are split, a 10-point tiebreaker is played- the first to ten by 2 points wins the match. Just as Chase lost his second set, #2 doubles won their match in a tiebreaker, giving Nation Ford a 3-2 lead.
By the time Chase’s tiebreaker started, EVERYONE had crowded around his court. He had to play through the whole tiebreaker knowing the State Championship rested on his shoulders. I was so nervous, I could barely watch. Came pretty close to throwing up. I think Coach Billy almost did too. Chase got off to an early lead, but for most of the tiebreaker I was unsure of the score. It was 7-2 , then 9-5, then 9-9. At that point I didn’t know if he could pull it out. He stayed aggressive, pulled his opponent into the net and lobbed over him to go up 10-9. Next point he drilled a ball at his opponent who was at the net and his opponent couldn’t get it back. The whole team stormed the court.
Chase’s win wouldn’t have been possible without Coach Billy. Not only does he give the boys the technical skills and the strategy to win matches, but the confidence to make it happen.
Tomorrow Nation Ford will be playing Chapin (winner of the Lower State) in Columbia for the AAA State Championship.
Hopefully it won’t all come down to Chase because I still haven’t recovered from yesterday.