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River Bluff girls team young, eager for success

August 25, 2015 10:22 AM

By Jonathon Braden
USTA South Carolina

LEXINGTON, S.C. – Everything about the River Bluff High School girls tennis team this fall is young.

The school is in only its third year.

Brian_Lim
Lim

About half of the varsity team is eighth graders.

The team’s new head coach, Brian Lim, is only 22. He graduated from USC last spring and is enrolled in a one-year Master of Teaching graduate program there this fall.

“I don’t even have a real job yet,” Lim joked during a recent practice.

Do not, however, confuse youth for incompetence.

The young River Bluff team wants to win now, not a couple years from now, and they’ve already shown they can play with some of the best teams in the area.

Earlier this month, at the Palmetto Tennis Classic High School Invitational in Cayce, River Bluff beat Gilbert, Brookland-Cayce, Irmo and Chapin, which finished as the 3A state finalist last year, to win the inaugural tournament.

“It just showed us that it doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Elizabeth Roquemore, a sophomore who will play near the top of the lineup this fall. “I’m really excited about this season.”

Roquemore and her teammates are also excited about having Lim as their coach. The program has had a new coach every year – Martha Cartin, Carlos Lozano, now Lim.

“I just want a coach to stay with us,” said Madison Addy, a senior at River Bluff who’s worked with all three coaches. “I think Brian is going to be a really good coach.”

Lim knows the area and the sport well.

He grew up in Lexington and started playing tennis when he was 8. As a kid, he played in a popular Midlands summer league and through USTA Junior Team Tennis, a co-ed program offered year-round that allows kids to play tennis on a team.

During high school, Lim played on the Lexington High varsity team for three years. His final two seasons the team finished as 4A state finalists.

During his senior year, he started coaching at Quail Hollow Swim and Racquet Club in West Columbia. He continues to teach lessons there today. The past two springs, Lim also has helped coach the River Bluff boys tennis teams.

He has always made time to play tennis as well.

Lim plays through USTA Adult Leagues and with the USTA’s Tennis on Campus program, which lets college students play on club teams with their peers and compete across the country for fun.

At River Bluff, his vast playing experience comes in handy. At a recent practice, Lim was the fourth in a doubles match with a few of the team’s top players.

RBPractice_tennis
Sophomore Maegan Togneri high-fives coach Brian Lim during a recent River Bluff High School girls tennis team practice. (USTA SC photo)


The girls joked with him like he was their teammate.

“You need to step into it, Brian,” one girl said after Lim dumped a volley into the net.

Lim jokes with the players as well, but he also helps them improve.

During one point of the practice doubles match, Roquemore, standing at the net, slid a few steps to her right to hit a ball in the air. Her shot didn’t make it over the net, and she grumbled to herself about the mistake.

But Lim was upbeat about her quick thinking to be aggressive and go after the ball. “I like that,” Lim said. “It’s a great move. I promise!”

Lim hopes he has more seasons to work with the River Bluff girls team. After finishing the USC program next spring, Lim wants to find a job in the area teaching high school math.

“Hopefully,” he said, “I can stay here for a while.”

 

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