Myrtle Beach’s title defense came up short Thursday night.
The Seahawks fell 4-3 to South Aiken in a grinding battle.
“Those boys played their heart out,” head coach Matthew Adzema said. “Every single match was just phenomenal, exciting to watch. Of course, we’d like to come out with a W, but at the end of the day that was a great match to watch.”
The previously undefeated Seahawks trailed South Aiken 3-2 following the singles matchups. All South Aiken had to do was take one of the doubles matches early and secure their spot in the lower state championship.
But the No. 1 group from Myrtle Beach took care of business over South Aiken‘s top doubles group in straight sets and it came down to the duo of Spencer Green and Nolan Cahill.
Green and Cahill had a 4-0 advantage in the first set but ultimately fell 7-5. They rallied back to force a third set, which meant a battle to 10 points, the winner having to win by two.
It was a well rounded first set of rallies with the two teams deadlocked at three apiece. Then South Aiken took over and found themselves with an 8-3 lead and ultimately sealed a victory with a 10-5 third set.
Because of last year's COVID-19-shortened season, the Seahawks had been the reigning state champions.
Two years ago, Myrtle Beach won the 4A title after losing beloved coach Rivers Lynch to a heart attack two days before their first playoff match. Lynch had been a longtime teacher and coach at Myrtle Beach.
After this season ended, Adzema praised his seniors for not just their play Thursday but throughout the season.
“Without my seniors' leadership, there wouldn’t be a team as grateful as this one,” the coach said.
Following the match, Green, only a seventh grader, was incredibly emotional and was consoled by teammates and coaches. Adzema said it’s the heart that Green has at such a young age that shows a promising future for the Myrtle Beach boys tennis team.
“Best first year I think he could possibly have,” the coach said. “He’s such an amazing kid. He did such a great job his first year.”
Adzema also praised Green’s doubles partner Cahill and his technical abilities with the racket.
“They both work really well together,” he said. “Once again, the outcome just didn’t come our way."