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Emerald captured a hard-fought second-round tennis match to advance to the Class AA Upper State title match Tuesday night.
EHS of Greenwood, which held a 3-2 edge after singles, defeated Indian Land 4-3.
The match was decided at No. 1 doubles where Elizabeth Mulkey and Maggie Elliott defeated IL’s Hannah Shoemaker and Julia Greiner, 6-0, 6-1 to give the Lady Vikings the narrow win.
Emerald, the three-time defending Class AA Upstate champion, entered the match with a 12-3 record. IL, 7-6, was in the playoffs for the first time in the team’s history and made more history with a first-ever playoff win, 6-0 over Keenan in the opening round.
In the tense affair, Emerald’s depth was shown by the early results posted by Maggie Elliott and Rebecca Hobbs, but the other matches were seesaw battles. After EHS’s Michelle Rambo finished her match against Alexandra Greenawalt with a win, IL’s Hannah Shoemaker, Julia Greiner and the Bridget Sampson-Kelly Pauls team posted wins to keep the match alive.
Sampson and Pauls sealed the win first, winning the match tie-breaker going away. Then Shoemaker finished off her foe in a match tiebreaker, winning seven straight points. The last result came from Greiner, who battled back and forth with Arielle Barraca before nailing a forehand winner to take the match tiebreaker.
It appeared the IL effort to win the singles took something out of Shoemaker and Greiner. The No. 1 doubles was controlled by the EHS team as the IL girls were never able to get their feet under them.
IL coach Doug Young praised the Warriors.
“They did well just to force the doubles match to be a decisive match,” Young said. “They’ve never been to a match where it meant so much. To force a team of Emerald’s quality to wait out the last doubles match is a victory in itself.”
Young noted EHS’s top four players play tournament tennis, while only IL’s No. 1, Shoemaker, plays at that level.
“I was especially proud that our No. 2 doubles team could pull out their win,” Young said. “They’ve come a long way this season.”
Emerald faced Gilbert High for the Upstate title on Thursday. Shoemaker will compete in the state singles tournament in Lexington on Nov. 12-13.
Hannah Shoemaker (IL) def. Elizabeth Mulkey (E) 6-4, 3-6, 10-3
Julia Greiner (IL) def. Arielle Barraca (E) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 13-11
Maggie Elliott (E) def. Kim Koenig (IL) 6-0, 6-1
Rebecca Hobbs (E) def. April Ciccone (IL) 6-0, 6-1
Michelle Rambo (E) def. Alexandra Greenawalt (IL) 6-3, 6-2
Bridget Sampson-Kelly Pauls (IL) def. Herin Warner-Lauren Hobbs
(E) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 10-4
Mulkey-Elliott (E) def. Shoemaker & Greiner (IL) 6-0, 6-1