Columbia Star

Blue Devils eliminate Eagles

Dreher No. 1 Caspar Tarr rips a forehand in his match against Eastside’s Brady Clayton.

Dreher No. 1 Caspar Tarr rips a forehand in his match against Eastside’s Brady Clayton.

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The Dreher Blue Devils survived a four-hour battle with the visiting Eastside Eagles edging them 4-3 in a Class 4A playoff match April 28 that featured four third set ten-point tiebreakers, several comebacks, lots of tension, creative crowd noise, and prayers the surrounding neighbors would be tolerant of the lights staying on well past 9 p.m.

“The boys came through,” Dreher head coach Eddie Benton said. “The crowd helped us out. Obviously playing on our homecourts is a huge advantage.”

Dreher No. 1 Caspar Tarr dropped his first set 7-5 to Eastside’s Brady Clayton, but he came back to win the second set 6-4 and then took the tie break 13-11.

“Caspar had match points against him and came back and won the match,” Benton said.

Dreher No. 2 Achilles Hahn handled Bo Davis 6-2, 6-0, and Eastside No. 5 Wyatt Hill downed Joshua Vaught 6-1, 6-4, but those were the only two matches without much drama.

At No. 3 singles, Dreher’s Luke Mangum grabbed the first set from Isaac Herlugson 7-6 in a tiebreaker, and then Herlugson returned the favor taking the second set 7-6. Mangum then battled back to take the third set tiebreaker 10-6.

Dreher No. 2 Achilles Hahn serves against Eastside’s Bo Davis.

Dreher No. 2 Achilles Hahn serves against Eastside’s Bo Davis.

“Luke had an opportunity to fold, but he didn’t fold,” Benton said.

Dreher No. 4 Eli Crisan took the first set against Phillip Temple 6-3, but Temple fought back to win the second 7-6 taking the tiebreaker 7-5. Then in the third 10-point tiebreak of the day, Temple pulled out the win 10-8, and the match went to doubles with Dreher leading 3-2.

Dreher’s No. 2 doubles team of Andrew Vance and McAulay Kalish jumped out to a one-set lead taking the first 6-2, but Eastside’s Ezekiel deVroomen and Morgan Joye went on to win the second set 6-3 and the fourth 10- point tiebreak of the day 10- 8 tying the overall match score at 3-3.

That left Tarr, coming off his marathon match, and Hahn to face Eastside’s Davis and Temple at No. 1 doubles. Clayton was unable to play for the Eagles due to an injury. Tarr and Hahn dominated the match winning it 6-3, 6-0 to send the Blue Devils to the quarterfinals.

“I felt pretty comfortable,” Benton said of the match going to No. 1 doubles. “Achilles and Caspar play exceptional doubles. Plus they (the Eagles) had a disadvantage. Their No. 1 player cramped up, and they had to substitute him out, but you never know. It wasn’t secure until it was in our hands.

“This is a great, great match. We got tested in a way we haven’t been tested this year. Hats off to Eastside. They played exceptionally well in a very tough environment, but I’m so proud of our guys to get a win.”

“We are very grateful,” Benton said when asked about the extra time on the lights. “We do apologize for going beyond the agreed upon time, but hopefully, they’ll extend some grace to us.”

Dreher will next host a familiar foe in the quarterfinals as Region 4-4A opponent Irmo advanced with a 4-3 win over Catawba Ridge. The Blue Devils beat Irmo 4-2 on April 19 and 6-0 earlier in the season.

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