TUPELO – It’s not going to get any easier.
That seemed to be the general consensus Thursday in Tupelo’s tennis camp following the Golden Wave’s 7-0 win against Olive Branch in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 6A team playoffs at Rob Leake City Park courts.
“We generally have drawn an easier match in the first round,” Tupelo coach Laurie Bishop said. “We went out in the second round (quarterfinals) last year to Madison Central. This year it’s Starkville or Clinton.”
Starkville and Clinton’s are scheduled for today. A Starkville win would send Tupelo on the road while a Clinton victory would bring the Arrows to Tupelo.
“I’m confident if our players show up and play their best tennis, we can advance,” Bishop said.
Tupelo will host individual play today in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. The winners and runners-up all advance the 6A state tournament scheduled for May 1-2. The team championship will be played April 30.
Andrew Hildenbrand, a sophomore who defeated Olive Branch’s James Long 6-0, 6-0 in Thursday’s match, is expected to play doubles in today’s individual action.
“I’m more of a doubles player,” he said. “I’m more active at the net. I like to attack the ball.”
In the team competition, Hildenbrand likes the Golden Wave’s lineup.
“We’ve got a really talented team with a bunch of good players,” he said.
Against Olive Branch, Tupelo’s Jessie Nabors defeated Ashley Ricketts 6-0, 6-0 in singles. In girls doubles, Mary Buskirk-Briley Chrisman (6-1, 6-0), and Emily Carter-Megan Ware (6-1, 6-2) were winners.
In boys doubles, Hogan Harrington-Will Brawner (6-1, 6-1) and Robert Thompson-Joel Baldwin (6-0, 6-1) won. In mixed doubles, Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth and Kyle Hollingman (6-1, 6-0) won.